MINISTRY OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
In today’s world, change is the only constant. Technology and innovation have always impacted the way we live, work and interact with each other, but now this change is occurring at an unprecedented pace. New technologies, including advanced robotics, 3D-printing, artificial intelligence, electronic cash, combined with the increased accessibility and use of the internet as well as the appeal of social media and the virtual economy are challenging traditional ways of doing business.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), and by extension the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, understands this reality and is committed to advancing business, trade and investment initiatives in both the energy and non-energy sectors, using contemporary techniques, strategies and methods guided by our National Development Strategy 2016-2030 (NDS) — Vision 2030. A crucial pillar to achieving the Ministry’s mandate of expanding trade and pursuing new export markets is predicated on the new Trade Policy for Trinidad and Tobago, 2019-2023 that was developed with expert assistance and advice from the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC).
To complement the new trade policy, a Trade Mission Strategy for the period 2018-2020 was also developed to create a more streamlined approach to conducting trade missions and increase the export and product coverage of Trinidad and Tobago’s goods and services in select export markets. At the close of 2018, trade missions were launched to Cuba, Costa Rica, Panama and Puerto Rico. In 2019, we return to Cuba where significant advances were made and a number of indigenous firms now have a presence. We plan to expand our reach this year to Chile and to Houston in the United States of America.
In addition to increasing the appetite abroad for Trinidad and Tobago’s products, there is also a need to stimulate consumption of locally produced goods and services, both of which are in support of local manufacturers. To this end, the Ministry continues to partner with the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) to promote and implement its Proudly T&T initiative, which serves to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs, foster hope in the minds of our people, build trust in the domestic manufacturing sector and most importantly, buy local. Quality remains in focus with the implementation of the National Quality Policy which advocates for and promotes high-quality competitive products and services through the establishment of the supporting infrastructure.
Investment is also a crucial element in building our international competiveness and expanding our economy. To position Trinidad and Tobago as a premier destination for foreign investment, the Ministry is working towards the implementation of a new and ultra-modern Special Economic Zone (SEZ) regime. This regime encompasses a modern, institutional and legislative framework that encourages domestic and foreign investment by, among other things, providing a set of clear criteria for potential investors and a suite of sector-specific fiscal and non-fiscal incentives that complement our national vision.
In addition to the above, the Ministry has also developed a National e-Commerce Strategy 2017-2021 for Trinidad and Tobago with the purpose of creating an environment that facilitates and promotes e-commerce for local businesses to serve domestic and international consumer markets. Our vision is for business and commerce to be the engine of growth in our twin-island economy. The Government remains steadfast in making this vision a reality.Ministry of Trade and Industry
CHIEF SECRETARY OF TOBAGO HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY (THA) AND SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, INNOVATION AND ENERGY
Tobago: Beyond Ordinary. This is more than just a tagline for Tobago’s new go-to-market tourism strategy launched in October 2018. But it’s not only about tourism, it is Tobago’s statement of intent for economic development, and for its plans to develop every community. Over the past 12 months, every effort has been dedicated to programmes and projects geared towards fostering medium- to long-term growth in the island. One of our major achievements has been the transformation of the Studley Park Quarry in 2017. The Quarry had limited function and was not at the level of desired productivity. Today, the Quarry is generating its own income after being transformed into a special purpose company. Directors were appointed and adjustments made to the workforce to improve efficiency. Production has more than tripled since. Further to this, there has also been the rebuilding and recommissioning of the Barbados Bay Jetty earlier this year, enabling the quarry to export directly to Trinidad. Additionally, we are currently exploring the possibilities of exporting to regional destinations.
This administration is committed to ensuring that we create an environment in Tobago where businesses can thrive. Our approach has been through community-based empowerment. We’re providing skills and business training as well as loan and grant facilities to youth, up-and-coming entrepreneurs and business owners, so they can build strong, resilient businesses and grow them too. We are encouraging farmers to embrace further learning with a variety of courses, and encouraging non-farmers to develop a green thumb, so we can achieve food security and sustainability. We’ve even engaged the Community-based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme (CEPEP) and the Unemployment Relief Programme (URP) to learn marketable skills, so they can one day be self-starting entrepreneurs who are in control of their own employment. The planned airport terminal and associated works for the ANR Robinson International airport at Crown Point is also a key project for Tobago. It will bring the airport up to international standards, and ensure that larger aircraft can travel to Tobago, bringing a commensurate increase in the number of passengers on the island. It will be accompanied by increased parking, better airport facilities and amenities and greater capacity for visitor traffic.
It is significant to note that a major part of our infrastructural development has been focused on improving our road networks. In April 2019, rehabilitation commenced on a two-kilometre section of Claude Noel Highway, the main artery in southwest Tobago. This key stretch of highway has been in dire need of restoration, and facilitates a significant per cent of road traffic, particularly for those commuters proceeding in and out of the capital, Scarborough. It is therefore key to businesses, workers and students within the area. The rehab includes repairs to the foundation, and complete replacement of the road surfaces. Merge lanes are also being added at two key intersections, to reduce traffic congestion around these two Scarborough access points.
An alternate route between Scarborough and southwest Tobago is also being upgraded, with the replacement of three bridges along the Old Milford Road. The Lambeau River Bridge has been completed, and work is ongoing to complete bridges at Thompson River, Lowlands and Signal Hill River. Together, these key projects are expected to support the island’s efforts to develop the tourism and business sectors, and drive economic development.
Just as significant is Cabinet’s decision to approve the Tobago House of Assembly’s ability to source loan financing on the local market. The additional development funding should have an impact in a number of areas, among them: transforming innovation through an “Intelligent Island” ICT project, supplementing our road repair programme, and delivering public housing to those most in need.
There is much more to be done to put Tobago on the path to sustainable growth. Taken separately, the projects and programmes outlined here benefit various industries and communities. Taken together, they convey something more: a thrust to become greater than the sum of our parts; a realisation that for Tobago, ordinary is far from enough.Office of the Chief Secretary - Tobago House of Assembly
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO CHAMBER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (T&T CHAMBER)
The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce congratulates the publishers of Who’s Who in Trinidad and Tobago Business on another successful publication. We are pleased to be part of this magazine, which has maintained a consistent standard of excellence and is go-to reference for investors and business people overall.
As the recognised “Voice of Business”, the T&T Chamber offers an extensive portfolio of services to assist members through advocacy, lobbying, networking opportunities, trade facilitation and missions, conference/meeting facilities, and dispute resolution services. With a goal of providing the vital connections that will empower members to build strong and sustainable businesses, we have been adding services. These include the Business Insights series, providing ‘training for business by business’ through live events, live-streamed feed and recorded online platforms. We introduced a Membership Value-Added programme which provides cost-saving benefits to members on selected services. Some of these benefits offer local and international savings. The T&T Chamber has also created a special category of membership open to local participants of business incubator programmes. This is one way we offer support to entrepreneurs and start-ups as they develop into viable commercial enterprises. Our flagship Contact magazine has been rebranded and continues to be delivered free of charge to a wide number of readers. The publication is also available as an e-magazine on our website.
Our organisation continues to be national in scope, with over 580 corporate members spanning the services, import, export, distribution and manufacturing sectors as well as start-up operators, while Tobago’s business community is served through our Tobago Division. The T&T Chamber serves on over 30 national and non-governmental committees where we represent the views of business to national stakeholders. Our internal committees are comprised of members who volunteer their time and expertise to input on a range of issues – from trade and investment, finance, small business development and technology to leadership, responsible business and environment, safety and health.
TOBAGO DIVISION OF THE TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO CHAMBER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE
The Tobago Division of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce extends warm congratulations to the publishers of Who’s Who in Trinidad and Tobago Business, upon publication of another informative issue.
The T&T Chamber remains the only business representative organisation with an office established specifically dedicated to serving the needs of the Tobago business community. Originally established as the Tobago Chamber of Commerce, it merged with the Trinidad Chamber 37 years later, becoming a national organisation.
Over the years, many teams have contributed to the respect in which the Division is now held. The Division will continue to be the connecting thread in advocacy for operators on the island in critical areas of business and tourism development. We will do this through the work of our seven committees and through our presence on committees of the Tobago House of Assembly. We also engage collaboratively with other representative groups in Tobago and seek out synergistic relationships with central government and national stakeholders. In doing so, we provide a vital link between the private and public sectors and civil society to further the interests of Tobagonians.
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO MANUFACTURERS’ ASSOCIATION (TTMA)
The Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) is Proudly T&T - 500 members strong comprising manufacturers and associate members of all sizes and industries. We are bolstered by our collective drive to achieve fiscal sustainability through building up a diverse Industry in T&T. We are convinced that building consensus around strategies designed to catalyse growth will yield these results. The Trinbagonian Spirit to be creative, tolerant and determined to not fail, will be our strongest qualities to achieve our aspirations of rolling out a national manufacturing strategy. In that regard, we hope to ignite private sector-led growth in the manufacturing industry aimed at doubling local exports within the next five years. As such, we seek your support through involvement at the TTMA as we seek to improve the productivity of labour, capital and technology.
It is our vision that we continue to grow and strengthen our representation of the manufacturing industry through expanding our membership into both the downstream petrochemical industry and entrepreneurs. These sectors of our society are fearless with their commitment to development and the TTMA will assist in their missions.
TTMA has led the charge in recognising the role that our manufacturing sector plays in cultivating national pride. In an effort to continue this dialogue with our Proudly T&T initiatives, the TTMA encourages collaboration with stakeholders. We, the manufacturers, recognise that collaboration between different sectors is a must; we have a responsibility to work with each other to help secure a positive outcome for our nation.
The TTMA is proud to work on behalf of manufacturers and service providers within our membership and will continue to be their voice on both the local and international stages.
CHAIRMAN THE ENERGY CHAMBER OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO (THE ENERGY CHAMBER)
The Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago is a vital player in the continued development of this country and the wider Caribbean region and is committed to positioning Trinidad and Tobago as the energy services hub of the region.
The Energy Chamber is focused on meeting its members’ needs while ensuring the sector’s sustainable development. We continue to work towards achieving this by focusing our efforts in six key advocacy areas: fiscal reform, gas value chain realignment, promoting local content, increasing energy efficiency and renewables, reforming industrial relations and exporting energy services.
In this regard, our strategic mandates are both inward and outward looking. Our two key strategic imperatives are to ensure that Trinidad and Tobago is an attractive investment destination and that we also diversify our economy by exporting energy services. Supporting local content is a vital element of our mandate, as we build companies which compete at home and abroad and we maximise the retention of value within the domestic economy. Reforming our industrial relations environment is vital to drive the competitiveness of our companies and our economy actively and we are vigorously pursuing this objective with our other private-sector association partners.
Trinidad and Tobago’s place in the new energy order will depend on both how well we promote our country as a preferred energy investment destination and export our energy sector expertise globally. As the representative body of our energy sector, the Energy Chamber will continue to work to ensure that the sector remains competitive and sustainable and continues to benefit all of its stakeholders.
AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO (AMCHAM T&T)
We live in a complex and fast-changing environment which includes as many challenges as it does opportunities. In these uncertain times, AMCHAM Trinidad and Tobago recognises that we have a key role to play in attracting investment into T&T and a responsibility to make our society better.
To do this, we need to be nimble and embrace change. The old ways of doing things may not be completely relevant to the current context. But to move an entire society into a different era, we need leadership and collaboration. Not just leadership from the Government – although that is very important – but leadership from the business community, for we too have to change; leadership from the labour movement, for they too need to become relevant again; leadership from the professional class; leadership within communities and personally, we all have to take more individual responsibility for our society.
The transformation and adaptation to the digital revolution that is forcing businesses to redefine themselves must also involve companies embracing gender parity at the executive levels and ensuring a safe and protected working environment for all employees. The workplace must remain free from inequality and discrimination. This is key to how we attract and invest in business as we continue to build the Pathway to the Americas.
AMCHAM T&T is committed to working with the Government to establish the trade policies and investment climate to diversify our economy that is equally driven by wealth creation but bounded by fairness and equality for all citizens.
THE CHAGUANAS CHAMBER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (CCIC)
Chaguanas is not just the main town in central Trinidad, it is literally the centre of the country. We therefore make no apologies in seeing ourselves as being central (pun intended), to the economic, business and commercial thrust of Trinidad and Tobago. To be an important player in efforts to diversify our nation’s economy.
We aim to be future-looking and to make our community future-proof. It starts with Chaguanas being a smart city – a hub for e-commerce, entrepreneurship, and one in which technological innovation would flourish. We aim to become a highly digitised environment, where networking, the flow of creative ideas and activity are eased by technology.
The Chamber aims to create a business environment that would help SMEs to scale and grow faster, in order to satisfy bigger and bigger demands; and for all businesses to keep up with changing trends in the offering of goods and services, as well new technology and innovations.
The Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce continues to stimulate discussions within the business community, geared toward efficiently facilitating business development in Central Trinidad. In these tough economic times, businesses need to find new and creative ways to remain viable. This can be done with the aid of digitisation, and the creation of a digitally enabled climate.
With the opportunities available in business sector, it calls for emphasis to be placed on innovation and retooling of firms to be competitive in this environment. Through networking we try to create opportunities for our growing membership by business matching and training.
TRINIDAD HOTELS, RESTAURANTS AND TOURISM ASSOCIATION (THRTA)
The Trinidad Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism Association (THRTA) is honoured to be part of Who’s Who in Trinidad & Tobago Business. As the largest private sector tourism body in Trinidad, the THRTA has played a leadership role in the tourism industry in Trinidad and Tobago for the past 50 years. The Association’s membership comprises hotels/guesthouses, restaurants, transport and tour operators and several companies that provide goods and services to the industry.
THRTA provides benefits and services to its members through the creation of a business environment geared towards influencing Government policies, programmes and legislation. The aim is to stimulate investment, profitability and competitive rates of return to our member companies.
In the upcoming period, the THRTA will be focusing on executing its mandate, supported by strategic pillars, including Advocacy and Industry Representation; Strategic Networking and Alliances; Revenue Generation and Financial Sustainability; Human Capital Development; and Research and Data Acquisition. The THRTA will also be working closely with its training arm, the Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute (TTHTI) to ensure that the human capital needs of the industry are adequately served.
We continue to work towards creating an enabling environment for tourism in Trinidad, encouraging investment in the sector, creating additional demand, strengthening the visitor experience and fostering the co-ordination of the efforts amongst all stakeholders. We seek to bring about more awareness and recognition that tourism has the potential to be a major driver of the diversification plans for the economy of Trinidad and Tobago.
EMPLOYERS’ CONSULTATIVE ASSOCIATION OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO (ECA)
It is indeed a pleasure to be given the opportunity share my message for yet another year in this prestigious publication.
As our country continues to face significant social and economic challenges, I felt compelled to deviate from the traditional greeting and use the opportunity to remind our citizens and leaders that we must commit to building a better Trinidad and Tobago. This means inspiring a transformation where every creed and race finds an equal place. Of equal significance, is a recommitment to practically manifest our nation’s watchwords – Discipline, Production and Tolerance. Even as we do this, we must consider adding Respect as a fourth guiding principle, which sadly seems to be lacking in our society today.
To achieve this transformation, each citizen is being called upon to take ownership and responsibility for influencing the dramatic changes that are so urgently required to move forward and secure our future. Certainly, this is achievable as examples abound of countries who have achieved more with far less by leveraging the knowledge of its people. The question is, why can’t we in this nation where education is accessible to all?
How therefore do we begin to change the national conversation around our future? Let us focus on the positives. We continue to have so many successes – in business, sport, culture – and many other areas, of which we can be justly proud. Most importantly, we must remember that our individual and collective futures are inescapably linked to one another, and so too, are our individual and collective successes or failures. Let us all apply these watchwords in every sphere of our daily lives…our future is at stake.
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO COALITION OF SERVICES INDUSTRIES LIMITED (TTCSI)
Over the past six months, the Trinidad & Tobago Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI) has undergone a rebranding exercise, repositioning ourselves as a research-driven entity whilst maintaining our status as the relevant and critical voice of services in Trinidad and Tobago.
The launch of our Services Exporters Registry project is in keeping with this thrust to catapult our members to the top of the services sector. In addition, we have reignited our “Services Go Global” Certification Programme, an export readiness training programme for service providers. This programme guides participants through a 12-module export preparation programme.
We have worked hard to ensure that the TTCSI is at the table – being included in deliberations that affect our membership and the services sector – and although there is still a great deal of work to do, I am confident that we have the tenacity and ability to do what needs to be done.