“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

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Increased liability of Directors for the actions of their companies

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.”

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

Another look at Questionnaire Design

“It is not every question that deserves an answer.” – Pubius Syrus

business decisions

Questionnaire design is  imperative to the success of a research project. When all is said and done, the results of your research reflect the questions that were asked. This slide will highlight the following:

  1. What questions should be asked
  2. Best approaches in phrasing a question
  3. Arranging the questionnaire
  4. Pretesting ones questionnaire

Jamaica and ‘Big Data’: The Future of Research

The emergence of ‘big data‘ – the wealth of information being collected daily on customer behaviour and attitude via websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin etc – will cause a change in research as we know it. Internationally, the ‘big data’ discourse have gone a far way, however no mention has been made regarding its impact locally.

Data collection change:

Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and foursquare to name a few, collect millions of data on customers and website users on a daily basis. Some of the data collected are as follows:

  1. Location – Foursquare or Facebook check in
  2. Feelings/ opinions – Twitter posts about mood
  3. Sentiments – about a company or product
  4. Likes – what you are interested in
  5. Demographic information – age & gender

Among other data that is freely shared by users of these free services. The days of physically walking ‘door to door’ asking questions in order to collect data are numbered, data is constantly being produced and stored, the problem (or opportunity) is now the utilization of this available data – that’s where the alignment of software developers and the statisticians/ or data analyst is critical.

Jamaica has a growing tech community with several graphic designers and application developers all developing solutions they hope consumers will like and purchase. Few have seen the value in strategically developing applications which are data driven, that is, along with providing value to the consumer they actually collect valuable data from them.

Jamaica and by extension the wider Caribbean region is faced with many development problems, chief among them are high crime rates, high cost of justice, low customer service (both public and private sectors), high cost of collecting data, low levels of efficiency in production etc. The above problems represent areas where additional data could help to ameliorate if not solve many of these issues. The nexus between developers and data analyst holds tremendous opportunities for improved efficiency and data gathering throughout the Caribbean. More data, better analysis, more insights and more solutions to current problems.

The change is underway:

IBM, for example offers a text analytics software which allows users to gather and analyze data from Twitter and Facebook postings about a company. That is, using their text analytics software, you can get an overall picture of customer/ user sentiments about a company.

Just consider the implications this might have on the future of polls! Based on tweets and social media sentiments, one could actually be able to predict election outcomes with 0% margin of error – talk about big data!

Companies collecting ‘big data’ will hold tremendous insights relating to its consumers and a country’s population in general. Imagine being able to see attitude change in real-time, to see customer feedback about service and being able to quickly respond to negative sentiments.

CVM came under tremendous pressure from Jamaicans via the social media throughout most of the London 2012 Olympics. This dissatisfaction with the company’s coverage was evident on Twitter days before being published in the local news papers. This is one example of the future potential of ‘big data analysis’ in Jamaica, and its implication for large establishments.

The new age of research will see the rise of the analyst and presenter, persons/ companies skilled in interpreting and gathering insights from large volumes of data. This is especially true for big companies serving large demographics of customers.

share your comments/ views.

Visionary Entrepreneur

About the authorLuwayne Thomas is Co-founder & COO @balcostics

Follow me on twitter: @LuwayneThomas

 

 

 

At Balcostics our mission is to empower leaders 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

 

How Crime affect Investment in Jamaica: Study

Assessing the 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 this 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.

Analyzing the 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.

Main findings of this study: Read more of this post

What’s stopping your Financial Success?

Purpose of Article:

  • To highlight some of the main factors preventing achievement of goals
  • To present plausible actions and recommendations to overcome above mentioned problems
Discussion of Findings:

By reading extensively, as well observing the habits of high achievers and those who fail to achieve, I have been able to identify some of the main problems that prevent many people from getting ahead financially and in other areas of their lives.

Lack of vision

“What do you want out of life?” Many people have no answer for this question, as they have never stopped to think about it. Others often express vague wishes for material things such as a home or more money, without having any clarity on the specifics surrounding them.

“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it,” Napoleon Hill declares. You must develop a very clear intention about your future if you are going to change your finances.

Lack of belief

Too many people destroy their own dreams because they don’t really believe in themselves or their ability to achieve them. “When the mind disbelieves or doubts,” David Schwartz reveals, “the mind attracts ‘reasons’ to support the disbelief.” Read more of this post

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.

Read more of this post

The Telephone Interview Questionnaire

Be Prepared to Interview

Be prepared, Be very prepared. It is one thing to gather the courage to walk up to a perfect stranger, put on your best smile and ask them to fill out a questionnaire. It is a completely different thing to make a  phone call to a complete stranger and ask them to sit on the phone with you for God knows how long, while you ask them questions they don’t want to hear, and can’t be bothered with. Seems harsh but it’s true. The following are some of the main reasons you should be well prepared: Read more of this post