COVID 19 Caribbean Diaspora Business Response News
Caribbean governments should build a financial protection strategy that combines instruments that address different layers or types of risks. So said Gina Sanguinetti-Phillips, Program Manager at Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF SPC).
She was speaking at the fifth global Outride: COVID 19 Business Threat Seminar recently hosted by Magate Wildhorse Ltd, Toronto and attended by representatives in various diasporic markets as well as participants in the Caribbean.
Among the protection strategies and instruments shared by Sanguinetti-Phillips were:
- parametric insurance, traditional insurance,
- contingency debt facility, donor assistance (relief and reconstruction),
- budget reallocation, tax increase and
- credit (domestic and external) depending on the phase of the disaster response.
The climate risk finance and protection opportunities shared are available to both governments and vulnerable low-income individuals such as “small farmers, tourism workers, fishers, market vendors and day labourers. Vulnerable income individuals can benefit through the provision of quick cash payouts following extreme weather events (specifically, high winds and heavy rainfall)”. Participants expressed a strong desire contribute and benefit as business leaders and investors in their home countries. They pressed for Caribbean wide access to the livelihood protection and other solutions. Sanguinetti-Phillips noted that between 1970 and 2017 damages from natural disaster totaled US $156 billion dollars.
Rudi Page of Making Connections Work, UK invited Gina to share the opportunities with diasporans in the UK. Available scholarships and internships in climate risk finance were also of interest.
Unveiled at the event was the hybrid core-peripheral network governance model with integrated market mode— for governing and coordinating a comprehensive diaspora and Caribbean response. The model was shared by Meegan Scott, Principal at Magate Wildhorse Consulting. It is an inclusive and collaborative mechanism for delivering business and economic recovery. The model has been adapted for advancing individual and collective sustainable development goals and ambitions of Caribbean diasporans, home and host countries.
Scott pointed out that the model will eliminate negative competition and allow for different organizations and individuals to advance their visions while contributing to global and local action and results.
The core-periphery structure is often used for driving resilience because it allows for connectivity, idea generation, and information flow including during emergencies or shocks. The flow can be intensified or scaled down as required for drawing in the public and private sectors as well as civil society as needed.
There will be a need for “significant changes in culture, practice, entrepreneurship in diasporic markets, and the need to develop key industry market sectors”. “In addition, other social and economic challenges must be addressed, it was therefore essential to include a market mode”. The market mode will complement the network to deliver effective coordination and the development of efficient markets. Complete with diaspora-coordinated working groups, communities of practice, networks and communities, governments, think tank and markets, the model will drive the delivery of profit, purpose, mission-driven social impact and functions of key stakeholders and duty bearers in the third, public and higher education sectors in host and home countries. The model was partly informed by research on COVID 19 and its impact on diaspora organizations being by Scott since April of this year.
In another session Scott shared about Supply Chains, opportunities and strategy responses and hidden industry sectors impacted COVID 19 that hold pivot opportunities for entrepreneurs. Jennifer Clémence Graham, Managing Director and Senior Consultant at JG&G Consulting Services Inc. highlighted the importance of being social while presenting “ Digital Transformation – Process Pivots for COVID 19 and Beyond”. Theo Chambers, Motivational Speaker at CaribAcademy reminded the gathering “To be an entrepreneur you don’t have to fear, always do your best, consider how you spend your day, get ready for of any opportunity you can afford or manage”. He also cautioned the audience “not to participate in the recession”, but to borrow that approach used with success by Sam Walton of Walmart during the 1991 recession.
Roy Page, of Asterix Tourism Services Ltd asked that the gathering consider the financing challenges faced by the Government of Jamaica and growing debt to the Chinese. That came as the group contemplated the need to shift the mix of remittances towards investment in productive capital. The agriculture sector and food security were named as a priority. Rudi Page, Dr. Roy Davidson, of UNI Healthcare Inc and Andrew Sharpe of Authentic Caribbean Foundation championed health care and disability while Philip Bedward of Pathways, championed education.
Factored into the strategic profit and purpose responses of the organizational leaders for helping themselves, host and home countries were:
- Predications of a more active hurricane season or the Caribbean with a forecast of 7 to 9 hurricanes, two of which are expected to become major.
- The pronouncements of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNELAC), for the region shared by Gina “the COVID-19 pandemic will result in the worst economic contraction in the history of Latin America and the Caribbean” and that will that will come “sharp increases in unemployment; reduction in household incomes and the ability to meet basic needs; falling commodity prices; reduction in international trade; and increases in the poverty rate”.
CCRIF, the world’s first multi-country multi-peril risk pool based on parametric insurance and provides parametric catastrophe insurance for Caribbean and Central American governments. Their solutions covers drought, public utilities, agriculture, excess rainfall, tropical cyclone, and fisheries, the tourism industry included. The group will reconvene to look at trade, finance and investment as well as how to leverage the governance model for impactful joint response and recovery during and post the COVID 19 era; as well as how to better prepare to help the Caribbean through relief, recovery and reconstruction phases of environment, climate, health crisis and other shocks.
The Marathoner – Meegan Scott
I have learnt that organizations classified as essential services that also operate non-essential branches are in breach of guidelines related to social distancing and employee safety. They insist that administrative and other workers who carry out non-essential work that can be done from home operate from their offices. In some cases, staff must interact with clients who owing to the precarity of their financial and living circumstances are most likely to find themselves trapped in situations which inhibit their ability to effectively practice social distancing.
At the same time corporate offices are closed, and senior members of such organizations are working from the safety of their homes and reducing the risk to their families and loved ones. They represent the privileged who can travel in a private car, stockpile food supplies and other essentials for ensuring they are protected. Still, they call upon staff, the pawns further down the organizational chart to risk their lives and families in order to “do good”, the commuters who are without protective clothing. From their ivory towers senior management drive the burden on the health care system, risk to their staff and economic recovery.
This kind of recklessness is happening even in “mission driven” organizations that claim to exist to spread love and to transform human society (faith-based organizations included).
The management and boards of such organizations have forgotten their responsibilities related to ensuring organizational continuity, warding off reputational risks to their organizations and exposure to costly legal battles and lawsuits.
They have failed to drive authenticity and make the desired and articulated cultures and values of their organizations something that is lived.
When this reckless endangerment of life and human capital occur in the heat of the COVID 19 crisis it is high time to put legislative measures in place for protecting the less powerful, the vulnerable and all workers for that matter.
Can an organization with a board and management team that is too lazy to explore virtual options for strategy and technology update, for continuing key operations, for putting measures in place to protect staff other than their executive team be described as functional?
Effective leadership is intended to help both profit driven and mission driven organizations to bring about desired positive change, provide relevant and novel solutions as well as to respond to changes in their environment.
That includes unplanned changes that threaten human life and business continuity.
The current context:
By Tuesday March 31, 2020 New York State recorded 75,795 COVID 19 cases and 1,550 deaths. Next door in Toronto 793 cases and 11 deaths have been reported. We are aware that airborne transmission and transmission by droplet are also characteristic of the virus that causes COVID 19.
New York State is still not out of the woods from the danger of depleted COVID related hospital supplies. The virus is on track to claim as many as 240, 000 lives in the US. On March 16, 2020 Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of The World health Organization (WHO) told the world that “we have not seen an urgent enough escalation in testing, isolation and contact tracing, which is the backbone of the response”.
We have seen the consequence of tardiness on the part of governments to take proactive containment measures in an effort to stay economic downturn. But we have also seen those governments scramble to come to grips with the need to slow down in order to ensure those very economies do not collapse by the time the corona virus can be contained. I wouldn’t dare to say until a vaccine is developed, though I am hoping for one soon.
SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) or the Corona Virus only require small quantities of liquid for droplet transmission. This occurs mainly through protective reflex actions such as sneezing or coughing. It is also spread by contact such as touching contaminated hands, the face or surfaces. We have been informed that the virus can live on such surfaces for as long as seventy-two (72) hours. The US’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reported that Ribonucleic acid (RNA) from the virus that causes COVID 19 persisted on the Diamond Princess ship for 17 days after passengers left.
What else do organizational leaders need to know in order to be moved to save lives?
Where is the love and care for staff? How do you ask them to love, care and make a change in their communities when they do not matter?
Presented here is a perfect case of organizational risk from sick culture, poor governance and lack of strategy planning.
Governments must act to put legislative measures in place for protecting staff against organizations who put them at risk with the same urgency they do in wavering procedures that could delay the fight against the spread of COVID 19. The police must be instructed to refuse any letter claiming staff are essential service workers that fail to state the nature of those essential duties.
About the author: Meegan Scott, B.Sc. Hons, MBA, ATM-B, CL, PMP., is Jamaica-born Strategic Management Consultant, at Magate Wildhorse Consulting in Toronto & New York. This is a syndicated column and article. The Marathoner
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