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How to Successfully Start a Nonprofit in the US (4 keys to know)


There are many issues affecting society, and you can start a nonprofit in the US to solve some of these problems. There are more than 1 million nonprofits in the world and more than 10 million people are employed by nonprofits in the US. In the US, nonprofits receive donations totaling more than a trillion dollars in revenue and expenditures per year. In addition, nonprofits receive over 8 billion hours of volunteering time, valued at more than $150 billion per year.

However, despite all of the donations and volunteer hours that nonprofits receive per year, there are still a lot of problems that exist in this world and there is plenty of room for individuals to solve some of these problems. Starting or participating in a nonprofit is a great way to help. In the US, the 501(c)(3) public charity is one of the most used types of nonprofit in the U.S.

What is a Nonprofit?

It is important to understand what a nonprofit is. A 501(c)(3) public charity nonprofit covers a wide variety of nonprofits such as museums, hospitals, organizations that focus on child welfare, animals, the environment, religious organizations, and many other things.  

A nonprofit is run similar to any other business. Both a regular business and a nonprofit can pay their employees a salary or hourly wage. But, the fundamental difference is what they do with the profits of the business. When a regular business makes a profit, the profits are typically given to the owners of the business. But, when a nonprofit makes a profit, it reinvests the money back into programs and goals that support the mission statement of the nonprofit.

man in blue clothing giving an old man water
To Start a Nonprofit in the US, you should incorporate it on the State level.

The First Step to Start a Nonprofit in the US is Incorporation

When you are looking to create a nonprofit in the US, one of the first things you want to do is incorporate the nonprofit as a corporation on the state level. For example, if you want to create a nonprofit in the State of Georgia, you’ll create a Georgia nonprofit corporation. The corporation is the legal entity for the nonprofit in the U.S. This is important because the corporation offers the board of directors limited liability where they potentially will not be personally liable for any potential lawsuits or trouble the nonprofit could have.

US Nonprofits must have Tax Exemption Status with Form 1023

Once a nonprofit has been legally organized as a nonprofit at the state level, you’ll then want to apply with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for tax-exemption status on the federal level. You can do this by filing the IRS Form 1023

Form 1023 is a very detailed document and you don’t want to fill this document out in a day typically. Form 1023 will require you to explain the following: 

  1. Financial data of the nonprofit, 
  2. Independence of the board members, as discussed below,
  3. The compensation structure of the officers and directors, 
  4. The purpose of the nonprofit, etc.

It is important to note that while you are waiting to hear back on being approved for your tax-exempt status, people can still donate to your nonprofit, and once you receive your tax-exemption status, the donors are entitled to tax deductions retroactively.

Once you receive your federal tax-exempt status, you can file for recognition of tax-exemption status with the State the nonprofit is incorporated in as well. This may help the nonprofit avoid paying income taxes on the state level as well. 

Benefits of a Nonprofit

One of the main benefits the government allows for tax-exempt entities is that the nonprofit can generally avoid most income taxes on the federal level and the state level. A nonprofit’s tax-exempt status incentivizes individuals to donate to nonprofits because they can receive a tax deduction on their yearly taxes.

Start a US Nonprofit
Nonprofits can focus on many areas, including gardening.

Some of the main benefits of being legally compliant as a 501(c)(3) include:

  1. The nonprofit will have limited liability, as we stated earlier, which will help protect the board members from being personally liable if something bad happens,
  2. Certain taxes will not have to be paid and the nonprofit can apply for grant money,
  3. You can get cheaper prices on your postage, and
  4. The nonprofit can potentially last forever.

Therefore, if you desire to help make a positive impact on society, a nonprofit is a great way to organize your goals and your ambitions. Once a nonprofit is created, it is important to create a Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors Will Make or Break a Nonprofit

When you’re starting a nonprofit, one of the first things that you need to do is understand the importance of your Board of Directors. The Board of Directors have a legal obligation to oversee the administration and management of the nonprofit. Most Board of Directors generally do not participate in the day-to-day management of the nonprofit, but they are legally required to monitor, guide, and ensure the nonprofit is employing good management practices. However, while the Board of Directors are not required to participate in day-to-day management, in many smaller nonprofits, many do.

What to Look for in Board of Directors

When you are picking your board members, it is important to have board members that can bring value to the nonprofit. Many times, nonprofits select Board of Directors that are celebrities or individuals with notoriety in the local community. However, these board members are very busy and do not have a lot of time to serve the nonprofit in a valuable way. Therefore, these individuals may not necessarily be the best to have as board members because they can’t monitor and guide the management of the nonprofit. 

A quality Board of Directors comprises of individuals that are strong in areas where the nonprofit founders are not. For example, if the founder doesn’t have a strong background in accounting, it would be wise to add a board member with a strong accounting background.

photo of men doing fist bump
Team work makes the dream work. Every nonprofits should have a strong Board of Directors.

In addition, adding a lawyer or someone with a strong legal background should be a priority for a nonprofit. A lawyer would be able to help ensure the nonprofit complies with the IRS rules to maintain the nonprofit’s tax exemption status. Maintaining the tax exemption status is very important. Without the tax exemption status, it would be very difficult to raise money because donors no longer have an economic incentive to donate to the nonprofit, and donors are no longer receiving the proper tax deductions.

In addition, the IRS may monitor the nonprofit’s events to ensure the nonprofit is advancing the mission statement that it told the IRS that it would be. A person with a legal background would help with this area as well as ensure that board members are following their fiduciary duties and avoiding conflicts of interest. 

Board members have fiduciary duties to the nonprofit. Fiduciary duties explain the most fundamental obligations that a board member owes to the nonprofit. Some of the main fiduciary duties include the duty of care which shows the board has enough oversight and actively participates in the nonprofit, the duty of loyalty which shows the board members are avoiding conflicts of interest, and the duty of obedience which ensures the board members are acting in a way that is consistent with the mission statement of the nonprofit. Drafting a fiduciary duty checklist is a great way to ensure proper governance of the nonprofit and keep penalties from incurring.

The Board of Directors must follow their Fiduciary Duties and Avoid Conflict 

Fiduciary Duties require board members to legally act in a responsible, honest, and efficient manner. The Meeting Minutes are an excellent way for the board members to show they are following their fiduciary duties. Many states require nonprofits to meet and the minutes can serve as the official record of what occurred at a meeting and show the board members are following the corporate bylaws as well.

Taking the minutes of a meeting is a skill that requires knowing what to leave out and what to include. This is why lawyers often serve as the secretary in many nonprofits, since a lawyer would know what to include and how to write in a way to shows legal compliance with the IRS.

When judging the actions of the board, board members are given a lot of leeway with the business judgment rule. The business judgment rule shields the board of directors and officers from liability as long as they are authorized, acting in good faith, and in the best interest of the nonprofit. The business judgment rule is a major reason why nonprofits should be incorporated.

start a US nonprofit
You can start a Nonprofit in the US focused on music. This will ensure there is always a place for music to be appreciated and is taught to the next generation.

Board members must also act independently by doing one of the following two things: 1) Ensuring they are not related to another board member, officer, or employee and 2) not being paid as an executive. However, at smaller nonprofits, board members typically serve in executive roles such as the president or treasurer because there are not enough capable and willing people. If a board member is paid to serve in one of these roles, then the person can help minimize the potential for conflict of interest by ensuring that in meetings that pertain to staff compensation, that board member is not present when they are talking about their income. Please ensure this is noted in the meeting minutes.

The IRS Considers Inurement Illegal

While the nonprofit is avoiding conflict of interest, it should also avoid private inurement. Private inurement is where board members or officers use their position to influence the use of the organization’s assets for their personal gain and to the detriment of the nonprofit. Private inurement can occur in many ways including the following.

  • Business transactions of the nonprofit with a board member or an executive where the board member is buying goods or services on terms that are overly favorable to the board member or the executive, 
  • There is a very high, above-the-market compensation or salary given to the board member or the executive, or 
  • The nonprofit gives low or no-interest-rate loans to a board member or an executive.

If a nonprofit participated in inurement, it will be in violation of the IRS rules and will likely lose its tax-exempt status. Without tax-exempt status, donors will not want to donate as the donors will no longer receive a tax deduction. Nonprofits must avoid inurement and other forms of bad acts. This can be accomplished by having adequate policies and procedures.

Board Members can be Compensated 

photo of people holding each other s hands
A Board of Directors with a diverse set of skill be positioned to succeed.

The compensation for the Board of Directors should be fair and comparable to other similar nonprofits. It should be approved by independent directors, and documented in the meeting minutes. The compensation of everyone in the nonprofit should be reviewed regularly by an audit committee.

It is critical to understand that the Board of Directors are very important for any nonprofit and they should be selected with care because they can either add value or devalue a nonprofit.

Policies and Procedures help a Nonprofit function Properly

Policies and Procedures are very important in any business, including nonprofits. They introduce proper controls to ensure the nonprofit has written instructions and guidelines, so the business can operate without being dependent on any one person. They also help ensure the board of directors and the nonprofit are following good governance practices. Some of the policies and procedures may include the following:

  • Data privacy policy
  • Conflict of interest policy, 
  • Whistleblower policy, 
  • Document retention and destruction policy, 
  • Gift acceptance policy,
  • Joint venture policy, etc.

Fundraising for a NonProfit can be done with a Proper Strategy

Every business must generate revenue to survive and have sustainability, and a nonprofit is no exception. While many people mistakenly do not consider a nonprofit an actual business, it is a business. A few of the main differences between nonprofit and for-profit businesses include:

people toasting wine glasses
Fundraising dinners can be an expensive way to raise money.
  • A nonprofit differs in that the nonprofit uses any profit on programs that support its mission statement it told the IRS, while a regular business can distribute the profit to the owners of the business. 
  • The owner of a regular business may get paid twice (e.g., a salary and profits given to the owner). The founders of a nonprofit can not receive profits from a nonprofit.
  • A nonprofit can receive money (e.g., donations and grants) and generally do not have to pay federal income taxes on the money. 

Most nonprofits fundraise to bring in revenue for the nonprofit. They typically come in the form of donations and grants from a variety of sources.

Nonprofits should Raise Funds from its Board of Directors

One of the first fundraising strategies is to raise money through the nonprofit’s Board of Directors. When starting a nonprofit, as discussed earlier, you want to have a board of directors. The board oversees the administration and management of the nonprofit and these are the people that typically want the nonprofit to be successful. Therefore, it is common to have the board members donate to the nonprofit. This fundraising requirement is often included in the Board Members Agreement when the board members agree to become a part of the nonprofit’s board. You can find a sample Board Member’s Agreement here

While many nonprofits require the board to make a sizable donation once a year, another strategy is to have the board members make small monthly donations. If the board members are not willing to give, then it may be time for a cultural change and the board chair should start having some tough conversations with some of the board members.

Family and Friends May Contribute to your Nonprofit

Friends and family are great sources to donate to your nonprofit because you should have an inherent comfort with approaching them for money. These are the people that want you to be successful, likely more than any other group of individuals.

family preparing food in the kitchen
Family and Friends are a great place to start when raising money for your nonprofit. Respectfully present to them your goals for the nonprofit.

It is very important to treat your friends and family with the same amount of respect that you would treat a high-net-worth individual or a foundation, when you are asking for money. Many of your family and friends probably are already given money to nonprofits such as religious organizations. Therefore, these individuals already have the willingness to give, and likely are willing to donate to your nonprofit.

Donors benefit by giving because their donations are tax-deductible. Charities that receive donations of $250 or more are required by law to provide the donor with a receipt. The law nor the IRS does not have a set requirement or standard format for the receipt. However, generally, you want to include the following: 

  • Donor’s name, 
  • Date of the donation, 
  • Donation amount, and 
  • Whether any goods or services were exchanged.

If a person is donating items such as clothing, you should include a line for the description of the items and the fair market value of the goods. 

You can find a sample donation receipt here.

Fundraising Events should be Low in Effort and High in Donations

Fundraising events are a great way to raise funds for your nonprofits. However, fundraising events can be expensive and require a high amount of effort, while only generating a low amount of donations. In addition, planning the events can take you away from the charity’s mission. The best kind of events are low in effort and high in donations.

Breakfast fundraisers are great events to host because the breakfast is less expensive and you don’t have to have appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Alcohol is not required, and the events are shorter since individuals have to go to work. Invite an exciting speaker and the nonprofit could bring in new donors. You may even invite some of your donors to present on a topic.

Fundraising in many ways is the lifeblood of a charity and it is important to have both a marketing and legal strategy when planning these events.

Foundations give Grants to Nonprofits Every Year.

Foundations in the U.S. are required by law to give away money (e.g. grants) every year. Your nonprofit should apply for grants from foundations that support your nonprofit’s mission statement. 

These foundations can be found by monitoring nonprofits that have a similar mission statement as yours. Every year, U.S. nonprofits are legally required to file Form 990, a tax form that discusses the nonprofit’s financial information. You can request Form 990 and Schedule B of the nonprofits that are similar to yours. On this Form 990, you will see the foundations and agencies that gave them money, and then you can apply to those foundations and potentially start receiving grant money from them.  

Wills and Trusts leave Money to Nonprofits

There are many other sources of donations including planned giving where individuals leave sums of money in their wills and trusts for nonprofits when the person passes away. Asking major donors to increase their contribution is another way for nonprofits to fundraise.

group of people taking photo
Many Wills and Trusts leave money to schools and universities.

In addition, there are many tools for nonprofits to use such as the donor pyramid, which helps nonprofits to take donors from the bottom of the pyramid where many small donors are to the top where larger, but less frequent donations are made. Donor databases also help facilitate regular communication with nonprofits, and social media is a great way to show the activities of the nonprofits and seek donations.

Overall, a nonprofit is a great legal entity that can help individuals all over the world. It is important for nonprofits to be strategic and have an actual plan for how they are going to cultivate donations. Nonprofits that follow sound legal strategy will be set to inspire and change the world for the better.

10 Reasons Why You need more than a Will to Protect Your Family


Everyone should plan for when they are no longer around or unable to provide for themselves or their loved ones. An estate plan is the best way to do this. An estate plan consists of up to 10 of the following legal documents:

  1. Last Will and Testament
  2. Living Trust and Pour-Over Will
  3. Durable Power of Attorney for Property
  4. Durable Power of Attorney for Medical
  5. Living Will
  6. HIPAA Authorizations
  7. Affidavits
  8. Beneficiary Designation
  9. Guardianship
  10. Life Insurance and Retirement Accounts

The Will and Living Trust serve the same purpose, but you should Pick One

Most people are familiar with a will, formerly known as the “Last Will and Testament”, however, the Living Trust is another legal document that individuals should know about. Both have their pros and cons that we discuss in this section.

The Will’s Popularity makes it an Easy Document to Use

No matter how much money you have, you should have a will because this legal document explains what will happen to your wealth and assets when you die. Many of these assets include:

a man proposing to a woman
A engagement ring can be a part of a will or living trust to be passed down for when one of your children get married.
  1. A house and furniture,
  2. Jewelry and clothes,
  3. Art and antiques,
  4. Cash and money in your savings and checking account, and 
  5. Insurance policies and any retirement accounts which will likely go directly to your beneficiary (e.g., children and/or friends and family).

Once you identify all of your assets, you should determine which person these assets will go to. In legal terms, they call these people beneficiaries. It is important to name alternative beneficiaries as well because these people will get the asset in case the original beneficiary dies. If you don’t name an alternative beneficiary and the original person dies before you, the laws of the State will likely determine who that item goes to.

In addition, we often have more items than we realize and it is important to have a catch-all provision that determines where the items, that are mistakenly not in the will, should go. In legal terms, this is called a Residuary Clause. For example, the wording in your will may appear similar to the following: “I leave my residuary estate to my spouse, John Doe. If John Doe doesn’t survive me, I leave my residuary estate to my two children, Jane Doe and Tim Doe.”

A will also describes many other things such as:

  1. An executor, a trustworthy and mature person that serves as the personal representative and administers the will;
  2. Funeral arrangements describing whether you want to be cremated or buried and by whom; and
  3. A guardian for your minor children.

Your will must be signed by you and witnesses sign as well. The witnesses should typically be people who are not your heirs and generally younger than you because they will have to testify in case someone tries to contest the will in court. Also, it is important to sign a self-proving affidavit in front of a notary, to ensure that you can prove you have a valid will.

The Little Known Living Trust is used by the Rich and Famous, and you can use it to

Anyone can use a Living Trust, as an alternative to a Will. It offers more privacy than a Will.

 The Living Trust is a document that is often used instead of the will. The living trust has many advantages that the will does not have. 

The first advantage is that you can avoid the high cost of probate court. When a person dies, the personal representative that was named in the will typically files your will with the probate court. Once that happens, the court will determine whether the will is valid and then oversees the administration of the assets in the will. This can become very costly because of potential court costs, appraisal fees, attorney and accounting fees, and many more. 

With a living trust, the court is not automatically involved and this can help you save some money. In addition, the living trust is kept private after your death. This is different than with a will because a will has to go through probate court and thus the will becomes public records. However, with a living trust the public will not be aware of the size of your estate, who your heirs are, and the amount you are leaving to each person.

In addition, individuals with a living trust may forget to transfer all of their items into the living trust. When a person fails to transfer all of the assets to the trust, the laws of the state will likely determine who that item goes to. However, a pour-over will helps because it states that all property at the time the person dies will be distributed to the trust.

It is very important to understand the differences between a will and a living trust. It is also important to know that an aspect of a will, whether it is a traditional will or a pour-over will with a living trust, will be a part of your estate plan. So every adult, no matter the age, should start plans for their assets and items and determine how they will take care of their loved ones.

The Power of Attorney allows your Loved Ones to Take Care of You

As people continue to live longer and society becomes more connected, you may become dependent on your loved ones and others to take care of you. Growing older and accidents are a part of life, and you can make plans for this with two of the following documents in your estate plan:

  1. The Durable Power of Attorney for Financial and
  2. The Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (often called a healthcare proxy)

The Durable Power of Attorney for Financial controls your Finances and Money

As we age, our children or loved ones will have to make decisions on our behalf,

The Durable Power of Attorney for Financials is a document that allows you to appoint a person that will have the authority to control many of your assets such as:

  1. Managing your bank accounts,
  2. Pay your bills,
  3. Purchase and sell your real estate,
  4. Receive your government benefits such as Social Security or Medicaid, 
  5. Operate your business, and many other things.

You can also limit the powers you give to this person, such as they can not change or revoke your will or use your assets for their benefit without your permission.

The Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare focuses on your Medical Decisions

The Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is a document that designates a person to make medical decisions on your behalf. This document allows you to stay in control of your health care, while appointing a person to follow your wishes. You should feel comfortable discussing your health and medical wants and needs with the person you appoint.

In addition, within the words Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, it is important to focus on the word durable. Durable makes this Power of Attorney different from a traditional Power of Attorney because the traditional power of attorney ends when a person becomes incapacitated or loses mental capacity. 

You should describe when this Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care will begin. For example, it can begin at times if you have serious brain damage, are in a vegetative state, or if you have a terminal illness. If a person’s medical condition worsens and becomes severe, the situation may be a life or death matter. You don’t want to have your loved ones debating and even more stressed about what will happen to you next. A living will, not to be confused with the more commonly known will, can help you make the decision. 

The Living Will and HIPAA Authorization Supports the Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare

A living will is a legal document that explains your desires when there is an extreme medical situation. In essence, it serves as a way to let your loved ones know when it’s time to let you go. Both the person you appoint for the power of attorney for healthcare and the doctors will carry out the directions of the living will.

In addition, it is a good idea to include a HIPAA authorization in your estate plan. HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a law that helps protect the medical privacy of individuals. A HIPAA authorization is helpful for the person who has Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. This will give that person access to your medical records for him or him to make the most informed decision for you.

It is important to choose a person who you can trust and know will carry out your best interest. This can be a child, a sibling, or a close friend. While these can be very difficult topics to discuss, these are necessary topics that should be discussed sooner rather than later.

Retirement Accounts are a Critical Part of an Estate Plan

estate plan will
A Retirement Account should be a part of a good estate plan strategy.

During a person’s working years, saving for retirement allows the person to have money when they are not able to work. In addition, life insurance can allow you to take care of your loved ones when you are no longer around. It is a good idea to have both a retirement account and life insurance included in your estate plan strategy.

Retirement accounts can take many forms, including 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Two of the main benefits of a retirement account include the following:

  1. The ability to defer paying taxes on the contributions you make to the retirement account and 
  2. You can grow your money even more through compound interest

When you have a retirement account, you’ll typically fill out a beneficiary form. This form is a legal document that determines who the person is who will receive your account balance upon your death. It is important to note that if you have a will, the will does not control your retirement accounts and it does not go through probate court. Some of the common beneficiaries include your spouse if you are married and if you have more than one beneficiary (e.g. your children), you can define what percentage of your retirement account will go to each beneficiary.  

In addition, if you have been putting money in a pension and will start receiving the contributions when you retire, it is important to know whether the pension has survivor’s benefits. Survivor’s benefits will help take care of your spouse after your death. 

If your pension plan does not have survivor’s benefits, it is important to consider how the loss of income is going to affect your spouse’s quality of living upon your death. Life insurance can help in this situation.

Life Insurance Protects your Loved Ones After you are Gone

Life insurance is a contract between you and an insurer, where you’ll pay a monthly or annual premium in exchange for the insurance company promising to pay money to a beneficiary of your choice after you pass away. You can buy a life insurance policy for yourself and have a joint policy with your spouse. In addition, the beneficiary doesn’t have to be a person, a living trust or an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust can be the beneficiary as well.

It is important to understand that having an Estate Plan will benefit both you and your loved ones. It is never too early to start planning and having the right legal documents that will make the process easier.

For free contracts and legal documents, please visit here.

Caribbean Law’s Big Impact on Tourism, Culture, and Drugs


Caribbean Law focuses on the Caribbean, a region that comprises of countries that generally surround the Caribbean Sea, a sea in the Atlantic Ocean. It is a diverse group of island nations with a culture rich in food, fun, and adventure.

How the Caribbean’s Endangered Species Laws protect Marine Life

The Caribbean Sea is a region that comprises countries that generally surround the Caribbean Sea. It has a very diverse ecosystem that is heavily protected by various local and international laws.

In the US, the Endangered Species Act of 1973 protects the vulnerable and endangered from extinction in island territories such as Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. In Belize, to protect the coral reefs, in 2009 the government passed a set of Fisheries Regulations to prevent the fishing of parrotfish, a type of fish that is vital to coral reefs. In Jamaica, the Natural Resources Conservation Authority Act provides the legal basis for protecting coral reefs and marine life.

These laws are necessary due to the damage and overfishing that has occurred to biodiversity. Conservation International considers the ecosystem of the Caribbean as a biodiversity hotspot.

Caribbean Law
The Caribbean has some of the best waters for snorkeling.

Why Caribbean Beach Law allows Private Beaches to Exist

Some of the best beaches in the world are in the Caribbean. By law, a beach is typically considered the space where the tide ebbs and flows. Most of the beaches in the Caribbean are public beaches that are open to the general public by law. However, there are private beaches as well, and many Caribbean countries consider a beach private when the only way to access a beach is by crossing private property.

The Caribbean Sea also offers beachfront property and many islands for sale. They are either sold by private owners or by the governments. It is important to understand that the person may be either buying the land either through freehold or leasehold. Freehold means the person legally owns the property in its entirety, while a leasehold means you control the island for a set time. 

Carnival Cruise has a long-term lease with Labadee, a port in Haiti, and CocoCay, an island in the Bahamas. Typically leasehold land ownership lasts anywhere from 50 – 99 years, then it will return to the original owner unless the land has an automatic renewal to allow the lease to be extended. Providing long-term leases to corporations allows the governments to collect revenue and bring economic opportunity to the areas, as many of these countries are impoverished due to the legacy of slavery.

Caribbean Slavery Shaped the World in More Ways than you Think

Most of the Caribbean Islands were originally inhabited by Indigenous Americans traveling from Asia. They established complex societies based on laws, traditions, and mutual respect. As Europeans came to the Caribbean, they colonized the islands and authorized legal slavery. Africans were enslaved, sold through legal contracts, transported from West Africa to the islands, and forced to work on sugar plantations. 

Sugar Cane on a plantation in the Caribbean

Slavery in the Caribbean was often worse and more brutal than slavery in Africa. For example, slaves in Haiti had a life expectancy of 5 years. In addition, children born to slaves in the Caribbean were legally considered slaves as well, unlike in Africa. Slavery in Africa tended not to apply to children of slaves, slavery often served as a form of punishment due to a lack of a formal prison system in some African communities, and many of the slaves in Africa were prisoners of war.

Biracial children were also born from enslaved African women and European men either through rape or concubinage. Some Caribbean colonial territories considered them slaves as well, but in French-controleld Haiti, mulatoos were a legitimate class and legal free, as well as often educated and wealthy.

The wealth from the Caribbean came largely from the sugar plantations. Sugar and its by-products such as molasses and rum were produced and exported back to Europe. Insurance contracts were issued for slaves and sugar byproducts goods, in case of death or loss.

The contracts were either based on Common or Civil Law.

Caribbean Laws is built on the foundation of Civil and Common Law

There are two types of legal systems in the Caribbean: Common Law and Civil Law. Common law is based on laws passed by the legislature and legal precedence. Legal precedence is where judges make court rulings that are based on prior court rulings. Civil law is a legal system that is based primarily on laws that are passed by the legislatures.

Many of the common law countries in the Caribbean include

Caribbean Law
Civil Law vs Common Law, a difference that has shaped the world
  • Jamaica
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Grenada
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis

Civil law Caribbean countries include:

  • Haiti based on Napoleonic French Civil Law
  • Suriname based on Dutch Civil Law

Cuba is based on Communist legal theory. However, starting in 2019, the country has begun to recognize private property rights and aspects of a free market economy where buyers and sellers determine the price of certain goods and services.

Doing business requires communication skills and understanding multiple languages is common in Caribbean countries.

What Languages do they Speak in the Caribbean?

Many languages that are spoken in the Caribbean including:

  • English,
  • Spanish,
  • French, and
  • Creole versions of English, Spanish, and French

It is important to note that the creole versions are not only spoken in the countries, but countries have passed laws to recognize them as official languages. This is shown in Haiti where Haitian Creole, a French-based dialect, and Aruba where Papiamentu, a Spanish-based dialect, are both official languages in their respective countries.

Knowing a variety of languages has also helped bolster the tourism industry.

Caribbean Tourism

One can make an argument that the Caribbean’s tourism industry is the best in the world. Some of the best resorts, restaurants, and adventure tours are done at the highest level possible in the Caribbean. But, for these world-class services to exist, laws must be in place. 

Zoning laws designating areas for resorts and commercial use are necessary for the Caribbean hospitality industry to thrive. In addition, liability waivers in contracts that exculpate hotels, resorts, and travel tours from legal liability are required to keep the hospitality industry functioning at a profit. Without the ability to project a profit, it fundamentally undercuts the incentive to go into business and therefore the tourism industry will likely cease to exist or maintain the quality it currently presents to millions of visitors per year.

Carnival combines tourism, religion, and excitement

How Carnival Law Keeps the Fun Going

Millions of individuals travel to the Caribbean for Carnival, a festival during the first quarter of every year based on the religion of Catholicism and ends before Lent. Carnival involves large parades, costumes, and contests that take place during both daytime and at night. Carnival takes place in most Caribbean countries, but countries such as Trinidad and Tobago’s carnival is more famously known.

Many tourists stay in hotels and Airbnbs, which take into account liability waivers discussed earlier in this section. There are laws for floats safety inspections, and Trinidad and Tobago even has a Festival Act specifically for its carnival that includes:

  • Times of the year to wear masks
  • Criminal actions during carnival
  • Authorities of the President to make determinations for Carnival

Tourism is a major export of the region. Even though no goods or services are leaving the countries, tourists bring foreign money into the countries making it a part of international trade. 

How Caribbean Trade Agreements impacts the World

Trading goods, services, and capital have been a part of humanity since ancient African Nile Valley civilization, and the Caribbean has been no different.

As discussed earlier the Transatlantic Triangle is based on international trade. Africans were enslaved and brought to the Caribbean Islands and forced to work on mostly sugar cane plantations. The plantations produced sugar, molasses, and rum which were exported to Europe. The Europeans sent ships full of guns, cloth, and other goods to West Africa to trade for human slaves, which continue the triangle of trade. Purchase agreements and insurance contracts were involved in the entire process.

Cuban Cigars are a major export of the Caribbean

Today, trade in the Caribbean region is largely different. Tourism plays a major role in international trade, but the country also exports products such as:

  • Coffee
  • Oil and Gas
  • Gold
  • Rum
  • Bananas 

Export-Import (EXIM) Banks provide credit insurance for companies that export products. This allows the companies to offer credit to their customers, and the company will not have to worry about payment before shipping the products. If the customer does not pay, the EXIM bank will repay the company up to 95% of the cost. EXIM Banks primarily offer this service for goods, but Caribbean music is also an important export.

Caribbean music is played all over the world, and the region’s most popular music includes genres such as reggae, soca, and kompa. These artists often sign exclusive recording agreements with record labels as well as music publishing agreements. The artists in turn are given advance money and then collect royalties when the music is sold or streamed.

Cuban Cigars are a major international export. While it is currently forbidden to bring Cuban cigars and alcohol from Cuba into the US, Cuban cigars and alcohol can be brought in from other third countries into the US. As the Caribbean countries legalize cannabis, the plant and its byproducts will be exported as well.

How Caribbean Herbs and spices go Beyond Cannabis 

The Caribbean is well renowned for its natural herbs and medicinal products. Historically many places did not have access to quality healthcare, so natural herbs and roots were studied and mastered, and used to create products. Roots tonics, soaps, and creams are developed and purchase agreements are signed and exported all over the world. While Cannabis is a plant that the Caribbean is more notoriously known for, other herbs and plants such as soursop, sarsaparilla, and raw moon root provide many medicinal benefits.

Cannabis is gradually becoming decriminalized in the Caribbean.

Where is Weed Legal in the Caribbean?

Cannabis is becoming legalized in many Caribbean countries. Jamaica passed the Dangerous Drug Act in 2015 which legalized cannabis for religious purposes and decriminalized the possession of 55.6 grams or less to a fine of 500 Jamaican Dollars (approximately $4 USD).  Trinidad and Tabogo allows legal possession of up to 30 grams. While cannabis laws are changing, cocaine trafficking laws have not changed.

Columbian cocaine has often traveled through the Caribbean to reach the United States and Europe. But, both Caribbean government and international organizational efforts are made and funded to address the trafficking of illegal cocaine and other illicit drugs.

Why is CARICOM Important and the benefits of International Organizations

The Caribbean countries, similar to many regions, have come together to form international governmental organizations such as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). CARICOM is composed of 15 Caribbean member states to increase economic relations and coordinate foreign policy. CARICOM organized events with high-ranking dignitaries, as well as funding opportunities through grants for events for the Caribbean. 

Other intergovernmental organizations that play an important role in the Caribbean include:

One of the major aspects of Caricom allows for a single regional market where goods and services can freely move across the 15 Caribbean countries. In addition, many Caribbean countries have trade agreements with other non-Caribbean countries such as the Caribbean Basin Initiative, a free trade preference with the US, and the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement, a free trade agreement with the European Union.

Similar to how trade agreements allow for the free movement of goods and services, immigration policy affects the movement of individuals. 

What is the Caribbean Diaspora and how do Laws help this Community?

The Caribbean Diaspora is individuals of Caribbean descent that are not currently living in the Caribbean. The movement of people has occurred since the dawn of man in the African safari, and immigration is a part of Caribbean history and is shown when:

Women from Guadalupe on Ellis Island immigrating to New York City
  • Indigenous natives migrated from Asia, 
  • Enslaved Africans were brought across the Atlantic Ocean, 
  • European entrepreneurs started plantations and profited off of slave-related industries, and 
  • Indians served as indentured servants in countries such as Guyana.

Individuals of Caribbean descent are now living all over the globe today. There are over a million people of both Jamaican and Haitian descent living in the US and almost 3 million total of the Caribbean diaspora, the UK has over 500,000 of the Caribbean diaspora, and there are over 750,000 Haitians in France.

These individuals are legal citizens of the countries or authorized to work through legal immigration visas such as the H-1B visa in the US. Many of the individuals have excelled in their fields such as military, law, health, and sports.

Many individuals are becoming citizens of Caribbean nations such as St. Lucia, St. Kitt, and Dominica. With these citizenship, many individuals can now have visa-free access to over 100 countries which may not be a possibility in their country of birth. The common requirement is to make approximately a $100,000 USD investment in the country in an area such as real estate.

How does the Law make Caribbean Sports a Million Dollar Business?

Sports are a major form of entertainment and football (soccer), the most popular sport in the world, reigns supreme in the Caribbean. Additional popular spectator sports include:

  • Baseball,
  • Cricket,
  • Track and field,
  • Water events such as yachting or sailing, and more.

When large numbers of people watch a sporting event, a business model is created and legal contracts are involved. There are advertising contracts, sponsorship agreements, player and coaches/trainers contracts, etc. Even ticket sales are a form of contract because people exchange money for the license to sit in a particular seat during a sporting event.

Caribbean Law Yatch
The future remains bright for the Caribbean

The Future of the Caribbean depends on Laws and Regulations.

The future is bright for the Caribbean. Within the next 50 years,  expect multiple Caribbean nations to be 100% run on renewable energy. Caribbean countries are situated perfectly to accomplish this because they have an abundance of water, wind, and sun.

As globalization continues to increase, Caribbean countries will participate, benefit and likely help their regional partners increase their per capita income. These countries will export finished products to the US and Europe, instead of mostly exporting raw materials. The tourism and hospitality industry will increase as the cannabis industry is legalized and matures in Caribbean nations.

3 ways an International Lawyer can practice Law in the US Successfully

There are three ways an International Lawyer can practice law in the US.

While it may not be common knowledge, international lawyers can practice law in the US. This allows foreign lawyers to be able to practice law in the world’s largest economy. However, just as there are many rules and State regulations in place for U.S. lawyers to practice law, there are three ways an international lawyer can practice law in the United States.

International Lawyer can Attend a US Law School

Many US States do not recognize foreign law degrees and require international lawyers to attend ABA-approved school. Therefore, it is important to note that each state has its own rules to follow making it important to know exactly where you intend to practice. It is much easier to have a focus on a specific state’s regulations than the country as a whole.

International Lawyer can practice Law in the US

For example the following States do not allow graduates of foreign law schools to take the bar exam: Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming. This means that in those States one would be required to attend an accredited law school in the U.S. to be able to take the Bar exam, which is required to practice law in the given state.

Juris Doctor Degree

The Juris Doctor (JD) degree is the law degree that most lawyers that attend US law school obtain. These lawyers typically take the LSAT and follow other additional law school admission steps. Traditionally it takes three years to complete the JD degree, but international lawyers can opt to the take the shorter Masters of Law Degree.

Masters of Law Degree

Many US States accept the LL.M. or Masters of Law at an accredited law school in the United States to suffice to qualify to take the US bar exam. The LLM is one year and will provide international lawyers with a thorough overview of the law. With the LL.M. you would be able to practice in New York, California, Washington state, Wisconsin, and other US States.

But along with each of these states there are other requirements to keep in mind. For example in Washington, the law school you choose to get your LL.M. from must be a Board of Governors approved school for it to qualify you for the bar exam. New York and California are the most popular states for international lawyers to practice in because of their more relaxed set of guidelines compared to other states.

International Lawyer can practice Law in the US

Complete an Equivalency Report

Foreign trained lawyers may be granted permission to take the bar exam, but each state has its own restrictions as well. For example, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, and Vermont are some of the States that do not require a degree from an ABA-approved school. But most of these States require an equivalency report which requires a thorough review of the international lawyer’s legal education and background to determine whether he/she has enough knowledge to take the bar exam.

For more specific information about practicing in a state, the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements provides more in depth information about specific state guidelines.

Take the Bar in a State with no Requirements for International Lawyers

The only State that recognizes all foreign law degrees with any regularity is Vermont, making it by far the easiest to start practicing law in than any other state but even they provide apprentice programs to allow foreign lawyers to adequately prepare for the bar exam.

While this can be a complicated process for international lawyers to become US lawyers, it it can be a worthwhile experience when you are able to practice laws in the US. As globalization continues to make the world smaller, lawyers are with legal experience in multiple countries and jurisdictions will increasingly becoming more important.

There are numerous ways for lawyers to be able to practice law in the US. It is much easier to either get a review to be approved to take the bar exam in the states mentioned above or get an LL. M. to qualify for the bar exam in those specific states.

5 Must-Know Music Law Terms to give your Music Career a Big Advantage

The music industry is constantly looking for new and talented artists, and despite it being a saturated market, stars are discovered everyday. But, it is important to be aware of music law terms such as music labels, copyrights, and music royalties to make a smoother transition into the convoluted world of showbiz. Let’s break down five topics that aspiring musicians and songwriters should know before entering the industry.

Record Labels and Publishing Companies

One of the major ways to enter the music industry is to sign with a record label: a company that manufactures, markets, distributes and promotes music recordings and music videos.

There are both smaller independent or “indie” record labels and larger international companies known as major record deals. Currently, there are three large record labels collectively known as the “Big Three”:

Music Law
Music has always been a form of expression that can alter and uplift a person’s mood
  1. Universal Music Group (UMG): Includes Interscope Records, Capital Music Group, Republic Records, and Def Jam Recordings and holds 54.4% or US/CA market share;
  2. Sony Music: Includes Columbia Records, Epic Records, and RCA Records and holds 23.4% of US/CA market share; and
  3. Warner Music Group: Includes Elektra Records, Warner Records, Atlantic Records, Parlophone Records, and Reprise Records, and holds 12.1% of US/CA market share.

Record labels companies are primarily responsible for a specific recording of a song or performance (see music masters below). In contrast, publishing companies typically control written music and compositions on behalf of songwriters and are given copyright ownership license. In exchange for signing with a record label, music artists are given royalties.

Four Types of Music Royalties

The main source of income for most artists are royalties, a legally binding payment generated by the licensing of recordings or sounds. Royalties are a music law category that are very important for artists to understand. Royalties include:

  • Mechanical Royalties: The songwriter collects payment every time their song is reproduced via physical or digital streaming or download;
  • Synchronization Royalties: The copyright owner (usually the songwriter and their publisher) is paid every time their song is played on television, film and advertisements by license holders;
  • Performance Royalties: These royalties are collected whenever the songs are played publicly, such as on radio/TV stations, live venues, and restaurants; and
  • Print Rights and Royalties: Songwriters and publishers receive royalties based on sales of printed sheet music.

Print sheet music is an example of a copyright in the music business.

Music Law

Copyrights are an Integral part of Music Law

Copyright are original works of authorship, meaning that once an artist records the music, it is automatically copyrighted. Copyrights are imperative to delegating the ownership of any type of piece of music, and thus also determines to whom royalties are given to. Music, uniquely, has two types: i) composition (think melody and lyrics), and ii) sound recordings (typically in the form of master recordings as seen below). Composers, lyricists, and songwriters author the composition while performers, producers, and sound engineers are responsible for the sound recordings. 

Copyright owners are given the rights to reproduce the copyrighted work, create derivatives or variations of the song, distribute the work to the public, perform the song publicly, and display it publicly. Additionally, by having a public record of their work, artists are able to ensure the prevention of copyright infringement and plagiarism. 

Copyrights also include Music Masters.

Music Masters are the Center Piece of Music Law

Masters, or master recordings, are the original recordings of a song or performance. Having ownership of masters as an artist allows for not only creative control of their music but also the ability to maximize profit opportunities. The owner can license the recording to third parties, such as commercials, TV shows, films and sampling in other songs. 

Music Law

Although owning masters is often viewed as ideal, some artists choose to forfeit or share the legal rights to the recording, generally due to the need for financial support. However, there usually are provisions in place that do not allow the label to implement certain creative decisions without the artist’s approval depending on the deal. 

In many cases, new artists have signed away their master recordings without fully realizing the exact consequences. For example, Taylor Swift notably underwent a series of disputes with her previous manager Scooter Braun regarding his acquisition of her recordings. Therefore, the decision of how to handle the rights of masters should be taken into careful consideration with consultation of lawyers, specifically entertainment attorneys, and one’s management team. Performing Rights Organizations also play a complementary role with music masters.

Performing Rights Organizations

Performing Rights Organizations (PRO) serve as intermediaries between the copyright holders, such as songwriters and publishers, and parties interested in using those copyrighted materials publicly. They play a huge role in music law. Essentially, PROs provide a significant portion of musicians’ incomes by collecting royalties on their behalf anytime their songs are broadcasted via radio stations, streaming, TV shows, commercials, or played at live venues. 

PROs are actually a subdivision of Collective Management Organizations (CMOs), a licensing entity that manages and monitors the rights of copyright owners. While CMOs cover both mechanical rights and performing rights, PROs only deal with the latter. If you are seeking assistance in mechanical royalties as well, you can also join a Mechanical Rights Organization (MRO). 

Royalty types aside, PROs, MROs and CMOs otherwise operate similarly: they both issue licenses, monitor and enforce those licenses, and collect and distribute royalties. 

In this video, Geremy Johnson, Esq. explains the most important music law concepts to understand.

Here are a couple of the largest PROs:

  • ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers): Established in 1914 as the first U.S. PRO, ASCAP is the second largest leading organization with over 850,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers. Fee: One-time, non refundable $50 application fee.
  • BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.): Representing over 1.2 million artists and publishers, BMI is currently the largest PRO on the market. Fee: free for songwriters and composers, $250 for publishers. 
  • SESAC (Society of European Stage Authors and Composers): Although substantially smaller than BMI and ASCAP with a membership of 30,000, SESAC functions as both a PRO and, since its 2015 acquisition of Henry Fox Agency, an MRO. SESAC is also unique as a for-profit organization and for its lack of open membership — artists and publishers are required to be invited in order to join. Fee: none.

The music business is an incredible industry and more money is being made than ever before. It is important to understand music law terms and how artists can boost their career.

For more legal education, please visit our blog.

5 Steps to get into a UK Law School: Here’s what you need to know

The United Kingdom has always had a reputation for quality law schools, and if you want to get into a UK law school, this will be informative. In fact, the UK is largely responsible for creating the common law legal system. Some of the largest economies in the world have a legal system based off of common law including the United States, Canada, and Australia. Therefore going to law school in the UK may be a good idea as you will not only receive a quality education, but it will also allow you to transition easier to other top legal markets. Following these five steps will increase your chances of being accepted into a UK law school.

Step One: National Admissions Test for Law School (LNAT)

The first step is take the National Admissions Test for Law School (LNAT) because it is required to attend most of the law school in the UK. It is very important to prepare for this test, if you want to increase your chances of getting into a law school in the UK. You can prepare by taking a preparation course and taking many practice tests.

Get into a UK Law School
High school students from all over the world apply to UK law schools

Step Two: Personal Statement

A personal statement is your opportunity to tell the law school about yourself. You can discuss many things including:

-Why you want to be a lawyer,

-Any adversity you have gone through,

-Types of law you want to practice once you become a lawyer, and more.

The personal statement should be no more than 4,000 characters. This should be enough time to get your point across. Also, let other people you trust read your personal statement and give you feedback.

Step Three: References

References allow the law school to learn about your intellectual capability from someone other than yourself. Law school is very demanding and schools want to be sure that you can handle the curriculum and graduate, and references. References will also speak to your character and this is important as lawyers should be ethical as they deal with their clients.

Students can apply for a LLB (Bachelors Level Degree) and LLM (Master's Level Degree) in the UK
Students can apply for a LLB (Bachelors Level Degree) and LLM (Master’s Level Degree) in the UK

Step Four: Register with Universities and Colleges Admissions Service

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) provides a central place for students to apply to different law schools in the UK. You must register so you can apply the law schools you want to.

Give yourself plenty of time to apply and it is also important to keep track of the applications you want to submit. Each school has tight deadlines to apply, and it is important that you be mindful of this so you can apply to the law school of your choice.

Step Five: Interview

Some law schools may require you to interview with them as part of the application process. Be prepared to answer questions such as:

-Tell me about yourself,

-Why do you want to be a lawyer,

-Why do you want to attend this law school,

-What type of law do you want to practice, and more.

Always dress your best and practice sample interview questions before your interview. You want to ensure you are putting your best effort forward and increasing your chances of getting into your dream law school.

While the UK has great law schools, there are many great law schools in other countries, including the US. However, you can not go wrong in the UK and understanding these steps, will allow you to increase your chances of attending the law school of your choice.

Can you Sue a Food Company for an Object Found in your Food: Learn this Important 4 Step Legal strategy?


Yes, you can sue if an object is found in your food, especially if it has caused you harm. The laws in the US allow a person who is hurt or harmed to sue under the legal claim of Negligence. This is an important legal concept for the area of food law to understand and we explain it below.

How to use Negligence to Sue for an Object found in your Food?

Negligence requires you to show four things: i) Duty, ii) Breach, iii) Cause, iv) Harm.

Restaurants have a duty to practice safe food habits and not to allow harmful objects in guest’s food. If an harmful object is placed in your food, they have breached the duty of practicing safe food habits. But-for the restaurant placing the harmful object in your food, you would not have been caused harm. Lastly, you actually suffered harm.

Can you Sue a Food Company for an Object Found in your Food?

If all of the facts are true in your cause, you meet the legal elements of Negligence and can sue a restaurant for an object found in your food.

Actual Damages are Important

It is very important to have actual damages in order to properly sue. You typically can not successfully sue just because you want to. How were you harmed? Did you eat the object and get sick? Did it cause you to miss work?

In many cases, it’s probably best to just ask for a refund or get another dish for free. But, if you were actually harmed, you can use legal remedies and sue. It is best to contact a lawyer to help you with this matter.

If the restaurant is particularly dirty, you can call the health inspector or the federal government if it is located in a federal facility. So for the question of “Can you Sue a Food Company for an Object Found in your Food?” The answer is yes, especially if you are physically harmed in a negative way.

Visit our Food Law Section to learn more about how food and the law is intertwined.

5 Energy Law Strategies for the Caribbean to become the first 100% Renewable Region

Many Caribbean countries have some of the highest energy costs in the world. This is despite the fact that these countries are best positioned to become 100% renewable. In this article, we discuss how entrepreneurs can use renewable energy law strategies to make this a reality. With the implementation of a fully renewable electricity grid, citizens could potentially lower their electric costs as well as the countries could minimize their carbon footprint.

Types of Renewable Energy for the Caribbean

Renewable Energy Law
The cost of Solar Energy is rapidly decreasing due to the electric vehicle innovations.

Sunshine, coastal winds, running tides, and rivers are pretty reliable in the Caribbean. This offers these island countries the chance to harness solar, wind, and hydro energy. But that’s not all because renewable energy benefits also include:

  • Economic development and job creation in the areas of manufacturing and installing solar panels, wind turbines, and hydro turbines,
  • Minimizing the dependence on imported fuels,
  • Reducing air pollution, and
  • Creating a renewable energy law governance structure.

Financing Caribbean Renewable Energy Projects

I understand you’re probably wondering where the money to finance these renewable energy projects is going to come from. All good ideas need funding. Well, there are a few places the money can come from in both the private and governmental sectors.

The 5 Most Overlooked Step in Energy Law Funding

In the private sector, as strange as it might sound, having a ton of your own money is not as important as you may think. Hear me out, the most important factor in raising money is having a strong and experienced team. This is often the most difficult task to accomplish, however. Once you have an experienced renewable energy team in law, finance, and construction, then banks will certainly welcome your meetings. 

Hydroelectricity is a source of renewable energy that is rising in popularity.
Hydroelectricity is a source of renewable energy that is rising in popularity.

The team will have the ability to be taken seriously and:

  1. Have a feasibility study for the renewable energy project 100% financed by international agencies such as the U.S. Trade and Development Agency,
  2. Hire a Mandatory Lead Arranger (MLA) to find funding from a syndicate of banks, and 
  3. Have professionals such as lawyers and accountants delay their fees until the project is completed,
  4. Create a Special Purpose Vehicle, and
  5. Have the proper contracts in place

Once the feasibility study is completed, the study will show that the renewable energy project is possible and safe to build. Then the MLA can use the feasibility study to raise funding from both private banks as well as government entities such as the USAID, World Bank, and more. It is important to have a sound legal strategy and the correct contracts to finance, build, and operate this project.

The Best Renewable Energy Law Strategy you need to create an Energy Project

When a large-scale project is built, a legal entity called the Special Purpose Entity (SPV) will own the energy project. The SPV is responsible for holding the funds to build the project; constructing the solar, wind, or hydro project; and operating the project once it is completed.

All parties sign a contract with the SPV. These contracts include:

  1. Equity Agreements for the shareholders of the project;
  2. Financial Agreements,
  3. Construction Agreements, 
  4. Operating Agreement,
  5. Supplies Agreement,
  6. Concession Agreement, 
  7. Power Purchase Agreement, and potentially many more.

As the world continues to move toward renewable energy, the Caribbean can lead the way. With some of the world’s highest energy costs, transitioning to renewable energy can provide incredible cost savings for the island nations. With strong teamwork, proper financing, and a sound legal strategy, this can be accomplished and bring tremendous and transformative benefits.

For more Caribbean related legal education, please visit our Americas section.

Why the Caribbean Basin Initiative is the key to make Haiti the future Clothing-Making Capital of the World

The Caribbean Basin Initiative is a preferential trade agreement that allows most Caribbean countries to send products duty-free to the US. This allows many products made in the Caribbean including clothing, to potentially enter the US market at a more affordable rate. A country such as Haiti has to opportunity expand its current clothing making industry using this international trade law.

The Future of Fashion will not Stay in Asia because of International Trade Laws

The Fashion and apparel sector is expected to increase from $1.9 Trillion in 2019 to $3 Trillion by 2030, according to Statista. This is good news for developing nations because here’s the thing, corporations are always trying to minimize their costs and create the same product for less.

You might be thinking that Asian countries such as China and Vietnam are the preferred countries for apparel, given their low labor costs. But, the demographics are changing in Asia. In addition, China has a rapidly growing middle class and beginning to pricing itself out of the market. This is where countries such as Haiti will rise because Haiti has many strategic benefits including U.S. regulatory clarity that makes it an attractive destination for clothing-making.

What makes Haiti the Future of Apparel with the Caribbean Basin Initiative?

Hear me out, despite Asia dominating the apparel industry for the past few decades, Haiti is the future. A few reasons include:

  • Haiti’s proximity to the U.S., the world’s largest economy,
  • Relatively low minimum wage, and
  • Regulatory clarity through the Caribbean Basin Initiative making it more affordable to send clothing from Haiti to the U.S.

“The U.S. apparel market generates over $300 Billion USD and is expected to grow about 7% per year through 2025, according to Statista.”

Jeans and other apparel can be shipped duty-free to the U.S. under the Caribbean Basin Initiative, using the U.S. cotton and yarn.
Jeans and other apparel can be shipped duty-free to the U.S. under the Caribbean Basin Initiative, using the U.S. cotton and yarn.

With Haiti being so close to the U.S., items will take less time to reach U.S. borders, and transportation costs will be cheaper. Combine the transportation cost savings with a low minimum wage, clothing from Haitian factories can enter the U.S. market and be extremely price competitive. 

But that is not all because the Caribbean Basin Initiative allows clothing made in Haiti to enter the U.S. market duty-free and without a quota. Not having to pay an import duty to the U.S. further makes products cheaper coming from Haiti.

Hanesbrands Inc., the owner of Hanes and the Champion brands, currently uses Haitian factories to produce clothing. In addition, Kanye West, owner of Yeezy Brand, a footwear and apparel company, recently traveled to Haiti. He met with the Haitian President and aims to build a “City of the Future”, and apparel will likely be one of his methods for job creation.


The groundwork has been laid for Haiti to be the clothing manufacturing capital of the world. Once the Haitian factories become the preferred choice for the U.S. market, other markets such as Europe are certainly next. With job creation, standards of living have historically risen. In addition, the more demand there is for a country’s products, infrastructure will typically improve. With employment and quality infrastructure, rule-of-law can prevail and bring peace to the country of Haiti.

While Haiti may be the poorest country in the Americas, a legal framework based on international trade exists for the country.

What is Dirty Sprite and Why the Legal Ingredients are Dangerous?

Dirty sprite is a drink recipe made from combining a clear soda (e.g., Sprite or Mountain Dew), jolly ranchers, and prescription cough medicine that contains codeine and promethazine. It originated in Houston, Texas, USA, and is also called lean, syrup, purple drank, or Memphis mud.

How Easy is it to get these ingredients?

Unfortunately in the US, it is fairly easy to get the ingredients to make Dirty Sprite because they all are legal. Sprite and jolly ranchers can be bought at nearly any convenience store. While cough medicine containing codeine and promethazine requires a doctor’s prescription, a visit to your local doctor claiming chronic cough will likely land you a prescription.

What is Dirty Sprite?

However, it is important to know that turning this into a drink is very dangerous to your health.

Dangers of Dirty Sprite?

While drugs such as Cannabis becoming legalized, it can not be stated enough that making this drink is incredibly dangerous to your health. While individuals claim its euphoric effects, this drink can kill you. In fact, it has a history of killing individuals of all ages, including celebrities.

Respiratory Failure, Constipation, Headaches, Dizziness are often common complications with drinking Dirty Sprite. This is a highly addictive drink and it is best to stay away.

What to do if you are Addicted to Dirty Sprite?

If you or anyone you know needs help, please contact the SAMHSA National Helpline for free confidential help, to find substance use treatment and information at 1-800-662-4357.

So what is Dirty Sprite? It is a drink made of legal ingredients that when combined is highly addictive and potentially deadly.