Trademark Surveys: Combining Research and Law

trademark-infringementTrademark confusion surveys bring together both of my passions – research & law. In the world of Intellectual Property, many companies are now ensuring that their trademarks are not confused with competitors.

In recent years, the courts in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom have seen a drastic increase in the number of cases where surveys have been accepted in trademark infringement and passing off cases. The use of research in trademark litigation has become prevalent even in the Caribbean. Two years ago, Balcostics Limited concluded a confusion survey where respondents provided answers to different questions relating to their perception as to whether they believed two marks (shown on the questionnaire) were owned by the same or different companies. Respondents were then asked to explain why they made a particular selection and to state the name of the company (ies) they thought owned both marks and or each mark.

Ensuring that the survey is conducted in the perfect environment is key when conducting a survey for use in litigation proceedings because trademark surveys often determine the outcome of trademark litigation. Courts look to specific indicia of reliability regarding how a trademark survey was conducted and performed. These indicia include:

  • Whether a sufficient number of individuals were surveyed,
  • Whether specific controls were created to measure if any portion of the survey was confusing in itself,
  • Whether the questions were leading or followed a proper format, and
  • If a specific percentage of survey respondents were called to verify the accuracy of their answers. A substantial amount of case law exists which provides insight into how to conduct and prepare a trademark survey that will be admissible in court.

5 Key Points in Conducting a Confusion Survey:

1.Ensure that the proper universe is selected. You have to ensure that the types of consumers questioned in the survey are from the proper universe. Identification and selection of a proper universe are recognized as critical elements in a survey. It makes no sense to interview the wrong persons as your results will be irrelevant.

2. Persons conducting the survey are recognized experts. The careful hiring of a trademark expert is one of the most important decisions made during a trademark dispute. Well… *cough* that is where Balcostics Research comes in.

3. The sample design, questionnaire and interviewing should be in accordance with generally accepted standards of research procedure and statistics.

4. Sample design and interviews are conducted independently of the Attorneys in the matter.

5. Interviewers trained in the field have no knowledge of the litigation or purposes for which survey is being used. This point was discussed in the case of TOYS “R” US, INC., Plaintiff,v.CANARSIE KIDDIE SHOP, INC.,[1983]

 

Written by: Abi-Gaye White-Thomas (Mrs.)
Attorney-at-Law and Researcher
law@balcostics.com

At Balcostics our mission is to empower decision makers with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

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Jamaican exporters face significant constraints including high energy costs

This article examines the supply side constraints affecting export development in Jamaica.

Jamaica Export

The analysis is based on a survey of non-traditional exporters. The results of the survey indicate that Jamaican exporters face significant supply side constraints including lack of access to capital, insufficient innovation, an unstable macroeconomic environment, high energy costs and infrastructural deficiencies. The article concludes that in the cases of those developing countries facing binding supply side constraints, measures to relax such constraints are necessary to allow them to take full advantage of available market access.

In the case of Jamaica, measures required to relax supply side constraints include establishment of venture capital institutions, stimulation of innovation, upgrading of infrastructure and promotion of macroeconomic stability.

Author:

Dr. Marie Freckleton (Department of Economics, University of the West Indies)

Learn more: marie.freckleton@uwimona.edu.jm

Corruption has a significant influence on economic growth in the short run, but not in the long run

Corruption InvestmentThis study of forty two developing countries uses Panel Dynamic Ordinary Least Squares – PDOLS – to examine the relationship between foreign direct investment, corruption and economic growth.

The results suggest that corruption has a significant influence on per capita GDP in the short run but is not significant in the long run. It was also found that lower levels of corruption enhance the impact of foreign direct investment on economic growth. This has important implications for policymakers.

Learn more about this paper: click here

Author(s):

Marie Freckleton, (Department of Economics, University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica); Allan Wright, (Central Bank of Barbados, Bridgetown, Barbados); Roland Craigwell, (Department of Economics, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados)

At Balcostics our mission is to empower decision makers with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

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“Thou shalt not be black”: Christianity & the distribution of power

Within the Caribbean, and more specifically the Jamaican context, the failure to acknowledge religion as a significant factor in the distribution of power, opportunities and status still exists. And although such failure is evident among all sections of the Jamaican society, the group that has lost and continues to lose the most is the lower class African group.

In order to understand the role religion—more specifically Christianity—has played in the subjugation of blacks in Jamaica from slavery till present, one has to understand the historical, political, socio-cultural and economic factors.

Rasta Jamaica

Rastafari, even as a movement steeped in Ethiopianism and Black Liberation, cannot eradicate the traces of black subjugation that has been woven into the fabric of Jamaican culture.  If one asks you to close your eyes and think about Christ more often than not it is the ‘stereotypical’ image of a white man. An individual who perceives Christ in this way subconsciously separates himself from that Supreme Being by virtue of not having the “image and likeness” of Christ.

In the end, one believes that a structural social movement approach similar to how Christianity was established in the Caribbean or a purely African doctrine devoid of all ideological similarities to Christianity, can be the only means of ‘salvation’ for blacks in Jamaica.

Want to learn more about this paper, contact the author via email: steffon.campbell02@uwimona.edu.jm

Contributed by: Steffon R. K. Campbell

SteffonAssistant Lecturer/Coordinator, Western Jamaica Programme 
Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC)
Faculty of Humanities and Education
The University of the West Indies, Mona
Western Jamaica Campus

Out of many, One Love? sexual self-disclosure in Polyamory & Monogamy relationships

In the play called Society, all human beings as ‘actors’, use communication as our ‘stage’. Since every play needs a stage, the role of communication in the ‘acts’ of sexual relationships cannot be understated. Thus, the researcher sought to report the similarities and/or differences between sexual communication and more specifically sexual self-disclosure within polyamorous (the practice of engaging in multiple sexual relationships with the consent of all the people involved) and monogamous relationships in the Caribbean, more specifically Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica.

Family couple relationships crisis difficulties

The results showed that a fear of losing a partner or changing their perspective, may affect the nature of sexual self-disclosure. This in turn may lead not to a greater understanding of sexual rewards and costs, but instead a perception of the rewards and costs thereof. This perception was more relevant in monogamous context as it does lead to more rewarding and less costly sexual exchanges and to greater sexual satisfaction.

The results yielded some expected and unexpected similarities and differences. These can lead to the acceptance that all intimate relationships have problems, circumstances and solutions. Such acceptance can serve as the foundation for therapists, HIV and AIDS activists, scholars and participating individuals in the creating and implementing of solutions to sexually communicative problems.

Want to learn more about this paper? You can contact the author via email: steffon.campbell02@uwimona.edu.jm

Contributed by: Steffon R. K. Campbell

SteffonAssistant Lecturer/Coordinator, Western Jamaica Programme 
Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC)
Faculty of Humanities and Education
The University of the West Indies, Mona
Western Jamaica Campus

Is ICT the answer to get more young Jamaicans choosing agriculture as a career path?

Even though employment options and entrepreneurial opportunities are few in Jamaica, it seems as if many Jamaican youth would prefer not to pursue agriculture as a career.

lettuce-farmer

Aging Workforce

Data from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority [RADA] (2006) revealed that up to that time, the average age of registered farmers in Jamaica was 57.5 years old. The data also revealed that farmers between the ages of 16 to 25 only represented 3.2% of the total number of registered farmers in Jamaica, with most farmers being over 40 years old.

Why are young persons not choosing agriculture as a career?

The majority of youth surveyed have a poor perception of agriculture, many believe that a career in agriculture would cause them to have low income and social status.

The main reasons given by Jamaicans for agriculture not being a popular career choice among youths included:

  1. the perception that agriculture provided low financial returns;
  2. consisted of intense manual work (with limited benefits);
  3. involved limited/no application of technology,
  4. the perception that their peers would not be in favour of them pursuing careers in agriculture.

Agriculture Jamaica

Not enough Jamaican youth are choosing to pursue careers in agriculture

The in-depth interviews with the experts from the Ministry of Agriculture ( ‘Youth in Agriculture’ Programme and RADA); IICA; the Jamaica 4-H Clubs and ICT4D Jamaica corroborated the notion that not enough Jamaican youth are choosing to pursue careers in agriculture. Of greater concern was that agricultural schools [such as Ebony Park HEART Academy, College of Agriculture Science and Education (C.A.S.E.) etc.] are producing agricultural graduates but only a few are focusing on cultivating the land for farming. One of the main reasons highlighted for this shying away from fieldwork is that graduates do not want to do ‘dirty’ laborious work in the field, and that they abhor having to toil in the sun.

Jamaica’s top agriculture graduates are migrating to other countries soon after graduating

A significant percentage of Jamaica’s top agriculture graduates are migrating to other countries soon after graduating. This is due in part to graduates succumbing to the allure of being paid substantial salaries overseas for their skills. Further, it was common to find that graduates view agriculture in Jamaica as a dying industry. This is why most feel motivated to migrate to countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, where they can benefit from lucrative opportunities in agriculture. The end result is that Jamaica suffers major ‘brain drain’ when these ‘brighter’ agriculture graduates opt to leave the country for ‘greener pastures’.

Link between ICT and Agriculture

ICT is defined as the combination of computer technology with communication technology to process, send, and receive information.

Youth involvement & ICT

ICT can be used as a tool to encourage more youth to pursue careers in agriculture. The idea here is to use ICT to share pertinent agricultural information with youth in new and exciting ways. Our research also revealed that youths see agriculture as a primitive occupation, which is labour intensive and out of touch with modern technology, while on the flip side, they view ICT as something that is cool, progressive and modern. It is evident that in order to use ICT as a mechanism for increasing youth involvement in agriculture, it will be important to show youth, a clear link between ICT and agriculture.

It is expected that more youth could be motivated to pursue agriculture, if for example, they saw where the Government was spending money to develop the agriculture sector in Jamaica:
  1. through the use of modern technology;
  2. through greater emphasis on agricultural training in the school curriculum;
  3. through the provision of farming lands to youth;
  4. through the provision of planting material and access to low interest loans or grants to set up their farms.

If the Government address these issues, it would be of great importance to properly sensitize youth about the opportunities that exist for involving them in the development of the agriculture industry. This is where ICT could play a critical role in sharing information with youths, thus starting the process of influencing them to choose careers in agriculture.

Most of the youth surveyed in this study believed that ICT could be used to develop strategies that serve to increase youth involvement in agriculture, by facilitating the dissemination of positive messages.

Thus we concluded that some Jamaican youths may be persuaded to choose agricultural careers, using ICT as an enabler. Given the growing fascination with ICT tools, such as the Internet and cell phones, we believe that the appeal of ICT as being cool and modern will help in the erosion of youth’s negative stereotypes about agriculture in Jamaica (especially as it relates to them viewing the agriculture industry as primitive).

Contributor: 

keron

Keron Morris is a Communication Professional with over twelve (12) years of experience in communication management, having expertise in all areas of communication theory and practice.

Keron holds a first degree with a double major in Media & Communication and Zoology from C.A.R.I.M.A.C. and Pure & Applied Sciences, U.W.I., Mona Campus, and a Master’s degree in Communication for Social and Behaviour Change from C.A.R.I.M.A.C., U.W.I., Mona Campus. Keron also has a Law degree from U.W.I., Cave Hill Campus, and is currently pursuing a Certificate of Legal Education at the Norman Manley Law School (Final Year).

The ‘Data Problem’ hampering Jamaica’s Court System

Recently I published a study examining the Jamaican Court System, the following areas were scrutinized:

  1. The Criminal Divisions of the Supreme and Resident Magistrate Courts
  2. The Gun Court
  3. The Family Court
  4. The Coroner’s Court

Jamaica Court systemMy research found that the Jamaican Court’s information management system is manual, heavily paper-based and inadequate to provide needed real-time data. The challenges that currently exist in data management continue to have serious implications for the efficacy, timeliness and reliability of Jamaica’s Court system.

The biggest problems affecting the court system:

1. Lack of Physical Resources (Equipment)

  • General lack of equipment such as computers, surge protectors and no database management system in place at the Resident Magistrates Courts to capture statistical data.
  • Clerk of the Courts were not assigned individual computers, resulting in data being stored in books and court sheets.
  • Limited number of computers assigned to clerks, affecting their capacity to capture and store relevant data

2. Human Resources

  • The Jamaican Court System suffers from inadequate staffing; one (1) clerk is assigned to a court. This makes it difficult for the Clerk of Courts to collect data, while managing the court at the same time; especially, when the court is mentioning new or part heard cases.

3. Spatial Problems

  • The Jamaican Court System is hampered by the limited office space now available, many courts cannot accommodate any new furniture. The offices are overcrowded and documents are mainly stored in an unplanned fashion (any place available). The court offices need to be relocated and outfitted with modern furniture.

4. Training

  • The Jamaican Court System’s staff members need to be trained and sensitized to the importance of data capture and storage methods to national development.
  • The Resident Magistrate’s Court Staff members need to be trained in the use of the Judicial Management and Enforcement System (JEMS); which is the computer application used to store data in the Supreme Court of Jamaica

Download a copy of the paper (pdf): Click here

About Contributor:

horatio

Horatio Morgan is the author of “The Jamaican Court System Statistics Project” and is an Education Administrator and a certified Management Analyst interested in the areas of technical analysis, development of indicators and research. Organizational Analysis is one of his many passions and the need to incorporate research into the rubric of developing national governmental policies.

Horatio has worked in the Court System of Jamaica for the last 10 years in various capacities and particularly, functioned from 2010 as a Research Analyst. For further detail contact him at horatio.morgan@yahoo.com

Jamaican Entrepreneurs are not in it solely for the money!

Only about 1 in 10 Jamaican entrepreneurs saw the possibility of great financial reward as the main driver (impetus) for starting their own business – The Jamaica SMEs Survey Report 2013.

1in10 entrepreneurs

Jamaican entrepreneurs were more motivated by the mindset of actually owning a business – it was a “personal goal” (35%). In  addition, there were some who “saw the market opportunity” (34%) and those who wanted to find the “freedom that owning a business allows” (16%). More males were in it for the freedom, while more females saw it as a personal goal.

Entrepreneurs are social beings who are not fully understood based on their complete and blatant need for actualizing the possibility of a business idea. This is what we found to be the main fiber that connects the Jamaican entrepreneur to those of the world, not the money!

Written by: Shanna Kaye Wright (Balcostics’ Team Member)

Purchase your Detailed Report Package today, features include:

  1. Cross – tabs looking at the distribution of results by all sub- groups (gender, age, years in operation).
  2. Correlations and significant relationships identified between sub- groups.
  3. Executive summary of the main finds and trends found.
  4. General analysis of the findings from the survey.
  5. Specific services/ products offered by respondents’ businesses
  6. Questionnaire used for data collection
  7. Access to the raw database file

Contact Us now & Learn more! 

Jamaica SMEs Survey 2013

Balcostics Ltd in partnership with the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) conducted a survey of Jamaican SMEs who were in attendance at the recently held “NCB/ IDB SME Conference” sponsored by the National Commercial Bank of Jamaica (NCB), and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).  The conference was held over a three day weekend (June 21st -23rd,2013), at the Hilton Resort and Spa in Montego Bay.

The survey provide answers to the following questions:

  1. Who are Jamaica’s rising SMEs? (age, gender, education level, years in operation)
  2. What are the main challenges facing SMEs?
  3. What are the main reasons persons’ choose entrepreneurship?
  4. What type of social media, if any, are entrepreneurs using in their businesses?

Jamaica SME Challenges

Download a copy of the full report highlights: click here

Jamaica SMEs Survey download

At Balcostics our mission is to empower decision makers with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

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Increased liability of Directors for the actions of their companies: Caribbean

The sacrosanct principle of limited liability is explicitly stated in the House of Lords decision Salomon v Salomon[1]. The learned judges in this case held that the company and its shareholders have separate and distinct legal personalities, hence the shareholder is not liable to indemnify the company against debt it incurs. This fundamental principle is vital to Company Law throughout the Caribbean. David Barber examines the principle and notes that “the purpose of limited liability is to promote commerce and industrial growth by encouraging shareholders to make capital contributions without subjecting all of their personal wealth to the risks of the business. This incentive to business investment has been called the most important legal development in the nineteenth century.[2]” The company as a separate and distinct legal personality is also embodied in legislation, as section 17 (1) of Barbados Companies Act states that “A company has the capacity and subject to this Act, the rights, powers and privileges of an individual.”

piercing 1

Although the Salomon principle is deemed as sacrosanct, legislation has created exceptions to this rule of limited liability and separate legal personality doctrine. The exception allows for the corporate veil to be pierced thus holding the shareholders personally liable for the obligations of the corporation. In instances where the corporate veil is pierced, the shareholders most likely to be held liable are the directors. Directorial liability stems from the fact that directors are at the top of the corporate hierarchy. Lennards Carrying Co Ltd v Asiatic Petroleum makes reference to the “directing mind and will of the corporation, the very ego and centre of the personality of the corporation.[3]”  From Viscount Haldane’s judgment in this case, it is deduced that the directors are the directing mind and will and thus should be held liable when the corporate veil is being pierced.

This erosion of the principles of limited liability and separate legal personality became more evident in the 21st century Caribbean. Justice Lutchmedial succinctly states this position in Trinidadian case Oilfields Workers’ trade Union v Robinson Crusoe Beach Resort Limited where he reasoned:

“Over the last hundred and more years (since Salomon) the Courts have sought to strip naked the corporate body which was conceived, given birth and clothed with corporate personality by company law. …Statute and the Courts throughout the Commonwealth are prepared to go behind the facade of the corporate persona to ascertain who are the brains, mind and will of the company, that is, who calls the shots. The insulating effects of corporate legal personality therefore have been shattered. In Trinidad and Tobago for example, the imposition of liability on Directors for the acts of a company poses a serious challenge to the Salomon principle. Provision is also made in our law for Directors liability for fraudulent, reckless or insolvent trading.” [4]

Caribbean Legislations

law

Anti-terrorism Act

Most Caribbean territories enacted anti-terrorism legislation to meet the global demands. Governments throughout the Caribbean took the legislative step in order to fulfill their obligations under the Financial Action task Force (FATF) and Organization for Economic Corporation Development (OECD) to promote policies to combat money laundering and terrorism.

Section 5 of the Barbados Anti-terrorism[5] legislation provides for liability of legal entity. The section provides that where an offence is committed by a person responsible for the management and control of an entity, the person committed the offence while acting in management capacity, he/she is guilty of an offence and can be held criminally liable. This provision demonstrates the corporate veil being pierced and the director being held personally liable. This Act differs from other anti-terrorism statutess in the region, such as Jamaica’s Terrorism Prevention Act[6] which provides for the body corporate being fined, but no explicit provision for senior officials or management being liable for acts of terrorism committed by the company.

Occupational Safety and Health Act

The Occupational Health and Safety Act was enacted in 2004 in Trinidad and Tobago to address the safety, health and welfare of persons at work. The Act enforces directorial liability in Section 83 (3) where it states:

“Where an offence under this Act or Regulations made thereunder is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance or acquiescence of, or to have been facilitated by neglect on the part of a director, manager, secretary or other officer of a company, such director, manager, secretary or other officer, as well as the company, is liable to be proceeded against for the commission of the offence.”

This increased liability demonstrates the strengthening of the law as it relates to employment rights and responsibilities. The legislative approach shows the codification of some provisions which exist at common law. Where there is directorial liability, this will ensure that the management structure is more efficient in order to meet industry standards.

Customs Act

Section 246 of the Barbados Customs Act[7], imposes directorial liability as it provides that:

‘Where an offence under any enactment relating to an assigned matter which has been committed with the consent or connivance of or attributable to any neglect on the part of any director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate or any person purporting to act in any such capacity, he as well as the body corporate shall be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly”.

This provision shows a piercing of the corporate veil where senior management will be held jointly liable with the body corporate.

Recent amendment to section 214A of this Act increased director liability where the companies failed to pay its required duties to the customs department. Section 214A provides that:

“where a corporation fails to pay an amount of duty required to be paid by this Act, the persons who were directors of the corporation at the time the corporation was required to pay the amount are jointly and severally liable, together with the corporation, to pay the amount and the penalties relating thereto”.

Under this amended section, the director would not be held liable if he/ she exercised care and due diligence in trying to prevent the company from defaulting. Prior to the amendment, liability was placed only on the body corporate. The increased directorial liability is partly due to instances where companies issue “bounced cheques” and owing millions to the Customs department for several years. Directors were able to hide behind the corporate veil in order to deliberately evade payment of taxes and duties to the government. This meant that since only the companies were being held liable, directors could constantly form new companies and continue to cheat the government out of monies owed. This loophole in the law would negatively impact the Barbadian economy since no government can adequately and efficiently run a country without the necessary duties and taxes paid to it. The adjustment to the Act stripped directors of the haven behind the corporate veil and imposed stricter measures for them to comply.

Tax and other Contributions

tax

Various legislations impose a duty on companies to pay tax and contributions to the government. Legislations in Jamaica stipulate that income tax, national insurance fund, GCT contributions, NHT contributions, Education tax and H.E.A.R.T contributions be paid. Similarly, in Barbados, there is legislation which provide that companies should pay NIS contributions, VAT and income tax.

As a result of the harsh economic climate, in both territories, there is a decrease in companies’ compliance as they are not carrying out their obligations under the law. The statutes in both territories contain provisions that render the director personally liable (along with company) for not paying taxes. Criminal penalties directors may face include fine and imprisonment. The director may be held liable even if he is simply aware of the failure of the company to pay taxes and he/she did not exercise all due diligence to prevent the commission of the offence, whether or not he took active steps in preventing the payment. Like the provisions in the Customs Act, these legislations’ objective is to prevent the directors from evading taxes and forming new companies at will. If they are held accountable, these directors will make an effort to comply since an action brought against them will affect their reputation and professional career.

Tax and contributions are used by the government to sustain the economy, and tax evasion by companies can be harmful to a nation’s growth. The regulatory measure in the statutes that provide for directorial liability is a safeguard to ensure that companies comply.

Conclusion

Caribbean territories have enacted several laws that pierce the Salomon principle, thus increasing directorial liability. Generally, these laws are in the best interest of the territories and the corporate community, since there is a strengthening of corporate governance and this will protect the rights of 3rd parties who have been negatively affected by the ill-will of malevolent directors. This will ensure that there is public confidence in the existing system of governance.

An increase in directorial liability is not necessarily harmful to corporate law, as such increased liability will automatically result in increased directorial responsibility.  Piercing of the corporate veil can be instrumental in regulating the actions of directors, to ensure that the corporate structure is managed with the highest level of integrity free from scandals and fraud. It will also provide strict measures to ensure that directors carry out their duties with care and due diligence. On the other hand, piercing the veil can negatively affect commerce by discouraging shareholders and scaring investors.


[1] [1897] AC 22 (HL)

[2] Barber, David, ‘Piercing the Corporate Veil’ 17 Williamette LR, 371 (1980-1981), 371

[3] [1915] AC 705

[4] TT 2008 IC 18

[5]  Anti-terrorism Act of 2002

[6]  Terrorism Prevention Act 2005

[7] Customs Act 1998

Contributor: Ms. Judi-Ann Edwards is a student at the Norman Manley Law School.

judi-ann

Jamaica’s Population Census 2011: Infographics

Jamaica’s population grew from 2,607,632 (2.608 million) persons in 2001 to 2, 697, 983 (2.698 million) in 2011. This represents a 3.5% increase in the total population size over the period (2001 – 2011). The following shows a breakdown of 2011 population by parish:

See full copy of ‘Population and Housing Census 2011: General report’ by clicking here: view report

At Balcostics our mission is to empower decision makers with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

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5 Solutions to Jamaica’s Economic Problems

This discussion presents five ideas which will allow Jamaica to secure an IMF deal in the short-term, reduce Jamaica’s energy cost almost immediately and double Jamaica’s GDP in the next 10 years.

1. Sustainable Community and Skills Development Centre (SCSDC)    

Description: 

An actual SCSDC is a combination of a renewable energy (traditional) community center on steroids; a high-rise, renewable energy housing complex; and a renewable energy commercial center. Conceptually, the 24-hour security, gated community housing facilities should be made-up of 60 two bedroom units and 60 three bedroom units, encapsulated within the perimeter of the community center, which is itself within the perimeter of a forty (40) outlet commercial complex. The SCSDC will be equipped with three 1000KW solar generators to take advantage of Jamaica’s sunlight of 8 hours/day on average.

Additionally, roof-tops will be equipped with a Gym consisting of 1000 pieces of equipment which transform the kinetic energy from exercises into electricity. All general entry points should have revolving doors which generate electricity. A police station manned by five (5)officers on each shift, including two senior cops, is to be situated within the SCSDC. Eight member JDF teams are to be brought in, on three separate shifts each day, to provide skills training to persons in the surrounding communities within the walls of the SCSDC. Other civic and corporate groups, as well as individuals may also provide training. The police officers and soldiers will be paid by funds from the electricity. These payments are the return on the government’s mezzanine financing, and will be paid as long as the SCSDC exist.

2. Staggered Billing, Taxes and Fees (SBTF)    

Description: 

The SBTF is a process to stagger the deadline date of payment for different agents in the economy. This will allow for less persons acting at the deadline on any one given day and therefore reduce the need for additional resources on artificially stipulated, coinciding deadline dates for significant masses of economic agents. As an example, Motor Vehicle Registrations (MVR) could be issued such that they expire with exact time reference to the day of issue – MVRs expire six months, or a year to the day of issue. This way, deadline dates for renewals and payment are only dependent on the day each person was first issued a license, the right, or privilege to operate. As another example, companies would be allowed to file taxes and fees at different dates depending on their date of incorporation.

3. 5-5-5 Rule (Debt Exchange and Fiscal Responsibility) 

Description:   

The 5-5-5 rule is a hybrid between a debt exchange and a fiscal responsibility framework. The three 5’s communicate: (i) the rate of interest on all existing domestically owned government debt will be adjusted to a rate of 5 per cent or less within the next five years; (ii) the government cannot accumulate additional debt amounting to more than 5 percent of the five year moving average of GDP in any five year period, except in a global or regional economic crisis; (iii) The government cannot borrow at rates of interest exceeding 5 per cent unless at least one of the world’s largest five economies is borrowing at a rate above five percent on equivalent debt instruments.

The usefulness of the 5-5-5 rule is that it would help to reduce debt-servicing cost, and help to preclude high debt burdens in future periods. Of course, high debt burdens crowd out government spending on important social, human and physical capital. The restrictions imposed on government borrowing will put downward pressure on interest rates, and, therefore, mitigate any upward pressure on interest rates. Upward pressure on interest rates is anticipated as a result of the general policy stance of tight monetary policy and expansionary spending (fiscal and private sector combined) policy, which is also prescribed under this arrangement, and is necessary to stimulate the economy while avoiding inflation. Of course, lower interest rates will promote private investments.

  4. The Labor Sale Rule (TLSR)

Description: 

The Labour Sale Rule (TLSR) is a novel process by which the government provides a zero cost to the government, retroactive discount on the first year of multiple years of labour services employed by firms. The process is zero cost to government because while it is essentially a discount paid for by the PAYE taxes that qualified employees would pay, the process is such that all qualified workers would under normal circumstances not be expected to be employed in the absence of TLSR.

5. Firms Absorbing Civil Servants Initiative (FACS)

Description:

The FACS is a plan which will see private sector entities receiving a discount (see the “labor sale” rule) to absorb civil servants in a transfer of labor from the public sector to the private sector. This will assist in the reduction of the public sector wage bill, while minimizing unemployment which arises from the public sector rationalization/retrenchment. Additionally, with a smaller work force in the public sector the government’s pension obligations will be reduced.

Download a copy of the full paper (pdf): Click here

 

About the Author:

Darron Thomas

Pristine Enterprises Limited

Email: darron.thomas@gmail.com

 

At Balcostics our mission is to empower decision makers with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

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An Analysis of Violent & Property Crime in Jamaica

This study sought to investigate the impact of police population, arrests rates, unemployment, educational attainment, average income, income inequality and degree of garrisonization on the incidence of violent crimes and property crimes in Jamaica.

Main Findings:

The rate of arrest and average income variables were found to be robust (strong) determinants of violent crime, with both exhibiting a negative relationship. That is, an increase in either arrest rates or average income would be associated with a decrease in violent crimes.

The results for property crime were quite different; the arrest rate was not found to be significant, while average income was found to be positively correlated to the incidence of property crimes. Income inequality (as measured by the Gini Index) also proved to be a positive determinant of property crime.

The policy implications of this paper are as follows:

1. In order to combat violent crime local authorities should focus on improving the arrest rates for violent offenses as opposed to trying to influence any of the other variables investigated in this paper.

2. Though it may be tempting to tout economic growth as a strategy for reducing violent crimes, this would result in a trade-off between violent crime and property crimes, with the latter responding far more sensitively.

3. Reducing the inequality gap is the most effective means by which the authorities may pursue a reduction in property crime. Although average income was also found to be a significant factor, it exhibited a positive relationship, meaning that economic growth should not be expected to deter property crime. On the contrary, the results suggest that property crime in Jamaica is likely to be exacerbated by growth, unless the growth effect is offset by an aggressive reduction in income inequality.

Author: Nadia Grant- Reid, Bsc., MSc.
UWI Lecturer of Economics (Western Campus)

Food for Thought: The Research Behind Eating Jamaican

IN OUR quest for healthier eating choices, we are encouraged to eat foods with less fat and sodium, more fiber, more complex carbohydrates and lower in calories. The foods that are most promoted are usually the imported ones since more is known about them than about our local foods. We may therefore seek out whole grain cereals and breads, fruits such as the American apple, plum and grapes and vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. How do our local foods compare?

Who has not heard the adage, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’? This is probably because the American apple has fiber to facilitate gut health and rid the body of waste. But do you know that one guava fruit has four (4) times the amount of fiber, slightly more potassium and nineteen (19) times the amount of vitamin C as an American apple? In comparison to a whole bunch of grapes, one (1) guava has twenty five (25) times more vitamin C, four (4) times more fiber and about the same potassium. Read more of this post

Exploiting Jamaica’s Hydroelectric Potential

Jamaica, the paradise island that is sometimes referred to as “the land of wood and water,” has great hydroelectric potential due to its topography and climate. Out of 120 rivers, the Island has several that are suitable for hydroelectricity power generation. Prime among them are:

1. Back Rio Grande – located in the parish of Portland
2. Great River – borders the parishes of St. James and Hanover
3. Laughlands Great River – is located in the parish of St. Ann
4. Rio Grande – is located in the parish of Portland Read more of this post

The Transfer of Governance Technology: Case of the Colbeck Water Users’ Association (WUA)

Purpose of study

  1.  To determine whether social capital as it relates to trust influences the successful transfer of participatory and transparent governance technologies in the Colbeck Water Users Association in Old Harbour, Jamaica.
  2.  To determine whether greater success in the transfer of governance technology is related to stronger surrounding economy, and greater access to outside resources.

The results demonstrate that social capital, as it relates to generalized trust, through its positive statistical relationship with governance in the form of accountability, has lead to some degree of success in the transfer of governance technologies.

Access to External Resources has also influenced the successful transfer of governance technologies (as it relates to participatory awareness) in the development of the Colbeck Water User Associations

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The Statistical link between Violent Crimes and Investment (FDI) in Jamaica

Statement of Problem:

  • Puerto Rico, the Caribbean – Jamaica in particular – and other developing countries, since the 1980’s, have placed great emphasis on a ‘FDI’ lead development strategy. This strategy is expected to increase capital formation and bolster production efficiencies through the transfer of new technologies and investment capital.
  • The prevalence of Violent Crimes has been shown to have a negative impact on the productive capacity of many countries, exerting high levels of uncertainties, low expected returns and increased production costs among many other disincentives. Being cognizant of the implications of Violent Crimes on a country’s productive capacity, it can be deduced that incidents of Violent Crime can deter and dissuade investors from selecting Jamaica as an investment hub.

Purpose of Study:

  • To examine the effect of Violent Crime on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Jamaica through the use of a Violent Crime Index and Individual Crime Variables.

 Data:

  • The Violent Crime Index is an average of the following crime variables: Murder, Rape and Carnal Abuse, Shooting with Intent and Robbery.
  • Data was retrieved from the Ministry of National Security 1970-2001.

The Effect of Natural Disasters on Remittance Inflows: Jamaica’s Experience

Purpose of Study:

  • To Quantify the effects of natural disasters on remittance inflows to Jamaica

Data source:

 

Results:

  • The results indicate that in the presence of a natural disaster in a given quarter, remittances would increase by an additionally 0.044% in that same quarter.

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The Performance of the JSE index and its Impact on Economic Growth

Purpose of Study:

  • To determine, if there exist a statistical relationship between the performance of the JSE index and economic growth (GDP) – Jamaica.
  • To determine the the direction of the relationship – test to see if movements in the JSE cause GDP to change or the opposite.

Data sources for study:

  • The researcher utilized quarterly time series data ranging from 1998 to 2010 (52 data points)
  • Data was retrieved from the Bank of Jamaica website (JSE index, and the gross domestic product GDP)

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