Caribbean and Diaspora News Round-up

Usain Bolt
  • Britain offers Bolt a tax break
  • Royal attention for St Vincent's Mustique
  • Clico gets a new name
CI logo UK offers Bolt a tax break
Usain Bolt and other international athletes are to get a one-off tax break for the UK part of the international Diamond League athletics event in July.
Under current rules, an athlete with the earning power of the world’s fastest man not only pays taxes on his appearance fee for the UK event, but also tax on a proportion of his entire global income.
As a result of this tax rule, apart from the Olympics, Usain Bolt has not raced in Britain since 2009.
Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London 2012 Olympics and now the UK government’s Olympics legacy ambassador, has been pushing the case with British Finance Minister (Chancellor) George Osborne to waive the tax rules.
The lobby paid off and the chancellor has allowed what will be a one-off tax exemption for the London part of the Diamond League series, which will run on 26 and 27 July.
Mr Osborne said he would allow the exemption to “secure the Olympic legacy”.
Bolt has made it clear that his decision not to run in the UK outside of the Olympics had been based solely on the UK tax structure.
“As soon as the law changes, I'll be here all the time. I love being here. I have so many Jamaican fans here and it's wonderful," he told the Jamaican Gleaner newspaper during the London 2012 Olympics last August.
Instead of its usual home at Crystal Palace, the UK meet will take place at the Olympic Stadium to mark the anniversary of London 2012.
As word of the decision emerged in London on 6 February, Bolt’s London-based agent, Ricky Simms, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that the decision was good news for the Diamond League and for British sport in general.
“The rules were discouraging a lot of the top stars from competing in the UK when they had options elsewhere,” he said.
He now has to consult with Bolt and his coach about fitting the London event into the 100m and 200m gold medal holder’s schedule.
“I think it’s about two weeks before the World Championships, which is quite late, but it’s London and it’s the Olympic Stadium again, so it obviously has an attraction,” he said.
The decision – on the basis of securing the man who is undoubtedly the world’s best-known athlete – had the British press awaiting word from Jamaica on whether Bolt can now make it.
“Tax break to bring Usain Bolt back to the Olympic stadium,” was the Thursday 7 February headline for London’s Evening Standard.
If the world’s fastest man can fit London into his schedule, expect the next sprint to be that of Londoners rushing to book tickets for July.
In the meantime, a discussion has started in Jamaica’s media and sporting circles as to whether the country with the highest athletic profile should itself consider hosting one of the 14 meet sessions of the Diamond League in the future.
CI logo Prestige Mustique
Following Rihanna’s tourism video promoting Barbados, the biggest boost for island tourism in 2013 has come from a decision by Britain’s favourite royal couple to take a holiday on the island of Mustique.
As Prince William and his pregnant wife Kate took a holiday in the luxury seclusion that members of the British royal family have enjoyed over the years, the British and global entertainment press took to exploring Mustique itself.
‘Kate Middleton mystique of Mustique – 10 facts about the island’, said a Daily Mirror article.
Unable to follow the royal couple around Mustique, which boasts of its exclusivity, a number of papers have run photo galleries of the island.
Mustique fever is not only for the UK press.
The British couple have also been treated like Hollywood stars in the American press, which has devoted many column inches to exploring Mustique, although not always getting the geography right.
Mustique was originally the default holiday home for Prince William’s aunt, Princess Margaret, while Nevis also received its fair share of publicity after being favoured by William’s mother, Princess Diana.
CI logo Goodbye Clico, Hello Atrius
Despite all the attention being given to the countdown to the annual carnival celebrations, the Trinidad and regional press did not miss the change of name for failed regional insurance giant Clico.
Once the legal process is complete, the Trinidad Express and Barbados Nation newspapers reported, the policies of the company’s 20,000 customers will be transferred to new company Atrius.
Colonial Life Insurance Company (Clico) was deemed one of the region’s too-big-to-fail companies in 2009 and was bailed out by the Trinidad government.
It had been one of the Caribbean’s largest privately held conglomerates before its meltdown, with shareholdings in many of the region’s major companies.
The wider Clico group – before the crash – had shares in at least 28 regional companies across the Caribbean and in Florida.
The Trinidad government announced a bail-out in 2009 and has subsequently been working on restructuring the conglomerate.
Trinidad’s rescue of parent company CL Financial has cost just under US$3bn (TT$19bn), mostly spent on repaying some groups of insurance policy holders.
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