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Vol.19 No.2 – June 2019

The Voice of Business in Trinidad & Tobago

CSME

Are we getting it right?


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Vol.19 No.2 – June 2019

Contents

Editor’s note 7

Natalie Dookie introduces this issue of CONTACT

Special Section

CSME: Are we getting it right?

On the cover:

Mia Mottley, the Barbados Prime

Minister, has the lead responsibility

for the CSME (Caricom

Single Market and Economy).

Photo courtesy: Prime Minister’s

Office, Barbados

Small economies, big plans 8

The CSME (Caricom Single Market and Economy) was

launched with much optimism 30 years ago, but has

disappointed many. Colin Soo Ping Chow examines the

background

Can private sector energy help push

CSME forward? 14

Renatta Mohammed looks at how Barbados Prime Minister

Mia Mottley hopes to give CSME new energy

Companies welcome CSME movement 19

Karibbean Flavours and Guardian Life share their

CSME experiences with Sasha Murray

The voice of business: labour relations 22

CONTACT talks to three business leaders about the industrial

relations climate in Trinidad and Tobago and how it could be

improved

Are you ready for a natural disaster? 24

Trinidad and Tobago is vulnerable to cyclones, earthquakes

and floods, as well as other hazards. Ravindranath Goswami

explains why businesses and their leaders need to be

prepared

Business profile: Angela Lee Loy 30

Pat Ganase talks to one of Trinidad and Tobago’s most

distinguished business leaders about her career and

outlook, and about building her group of companies

The Chamber’s growth

and learning corner 35

Three business leaders tell CONTACT what they have

been reading as they seek continually to expand their horizons

Innovation in business:

meet the “agripreneurs” 36

Jeanette Awai meets young entrepreneurs building innovative

projects in the agriculture sector

Five top facts about the Caricom market 41

Test your knowledge about our regional market and its

members with Sasha Murray

Economic outlook 43

The Chamber’s experts review the current global and regional

situation and look ahead towards the rest of 2019

Energy update 46

How is our vital oil and gas sector doing? Here’s the recent data

Welcome to new members 48

The Chamber extends a warm greeting to members who have

recently joined

4 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt


The voice of business in Trinidad & Tobago

Published by

The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber

of Industry and Commerce

Columbus Circle, Westmoorings, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

PO Box 499, Port of Spain • Tel: (868) 637-6966 • Fax: (868) 622-4475

Email: chamber@chamber.org.tt • Website: www.chamber.org.tt

Tobago Division:

ANSA McAL Building, Milford Road, Scarborough, Tobago

Tel: (868) 639-2669 • Fax: (868) 639-2669

Email: tobagochamber@chamber.org.tt

Produced for the Chamber by

MEP Publishers (Media & Editorial Projects Ltd)

6 Prospect Avenue, Maraval, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

Tel: (868) 622-3821 • Fax: (868) 628-0639

Email: info@meppublishers.com • Website: www.meppublishers.com

Editor

Online editor

General manager

Page layout & design

Advertising

Production

Editorial assistants

Natalie Dookie

Caroline Taylor

Halcyon Salazar

Kriston Chen

Evelyn Chung, Tracy Farrag,

Mark-Jason Ramesar

Jacqueline Smith

Shelly-Ann Inniss,

Kristine de Abreu

DISCLAIMER

Opinions expressed in Contact are those of the authors, and

not necessarily of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry

and Commerce or its partners or associates.

COURTESY KARIBBEAN FLAVOURS

CONTACT is published quarterly by the Trinidad and Tobago

Chamber of Industry and Commerce (TTCIC). It is available online at

www.chamber.org.tt/media/the-contact-business-magazine

©2019 TTCIC. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may

be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher.

chamber.org.tt


6 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt


Editor’s note

Editor’s note

So why are we still discussing and

not benefitting from full CSME

implementation in 2019? In this issue of

CONTACT, we explore these concerns and

more in CSME: Getting it right!

Even the world’s largest trading bloc wants the Caribbean to get to work

on advancing the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME). Having

invested several millions over the past decade, to support the development of

CSME and the implementation of the European Partnership Agreement, the

European Union (EU) wants to see action. The private sector and citizens in

the region want the same.

The EU is the world’s largest economy, with a GDP per head of

US$28,000 for its 500 million consumers. Its founding charter, the Treaty of

Rome, was signed in 1957 by six states. Today the EU comprises 28 member

states (including the UK pending Brexit). How has the CSME fared in comparison?

Established three decades ago in 1989, the CSME was a strategic project

intended to deepen regional integration and better respond to the challenges

and opportunities presented by globalisation. Not all 15 Caricom member

states are part of the CSME. Montserrat requires entrustment (approval) from

the United Kingdom. The Bahamas has stated its intention not to get on board.

Haiti is a partial participant, with full integration carded for 2020 (when it

will add another 11 million consumers to the market).

So why are we still discussing, and not benefitting from full CSME implementation

in 2019? Is it lack of political will? Not enough strong decisive

leadership in the region? In this issue of CONTACT, we explore these concerns

and more in CSME: Are we getting it right?

We examine whether small economies can realise big plans in the current

geopolitical and economic climate of the region. We look at the Barbados

Prime Minister's plans and priorities for CSME; and then consider the realworld

CSME experiences of Karibbean Flavours and Guardian Life.

In this issue of CONTACT, we also introduce several new features and

concepts, starting with our “Five Top Facts” about Caricom markets. You will

also hear from key business leaders on the labour relations climate in Trinidad

and Tobago, in “The Voice of Business”. We launch our new business profile

feature with “Angela Lee Loy: breaking business barriers”. Our second new

feature, “Innovation in business”, examines Caribbean Cure and Epilimnion

Aquaculture agri-businesses. As we prepare for the next rainy season, consider

if your business is ready for a natural disaster.

We close off our new content with “The Chamber’s Learning and Growth

Corner” – want to improve the way you do business? Check out what business

leaders are reading. Finally, the Chamber examines economic prospects for

the region, and delves more closely into the local energy sector’s performance.

It’s always a privilege to welcome new members of the Chamber and of

course, new readers to CONTACT. We look forward to your feedback on this

packed issue: let us know what you think of the new content.

Natalie Dookie, Editor

chamber.org.tt

JUNE 2019 7


COURTESY CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY


CSME: Are we getting it right?

Small economies, big plans

Established 30 years ago with lofty ideals, the intention of the Caricom

Single Market and Economy (CSME) was to provide more and better

opportunities for employment, trade and investment. What have we

achieved over the past three decades? How can we get CSME right, in

order to advance the region’s growth and development?

by Colin Soo Ping Chow

Executive Chairman, EY Caribbean

When the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME)

was established in 1989, the vision was clear: we would

create a single, regional economic zone, not unlike the

European Union (EU), which would be an attractive

destination for business and foreign investment. This

would be facilitated by the free movement of labour, and

supported by laws and regulations designed to grow intra-

Caribbean and extra-regional trade.

Thirty years have since passed, and we are nominally

closer to this goal.

several problems including potential defaults on foreign

loans as foreign exchange reserves declined precipitously.

To address these challenges, Barbados increased its debt,

maintained its fixed exchange rate, and continued its

expansionist policies.

Guyana, on the other hand, in trying to deal with

its own difficulties, adopted a strategy which involved

the nationalisation of major enterprises across a wide

spectrum. This strategy eventually failed, and the country’s

economy fell into recession.

The background

In the 1990s, immediately after the formation of the CSME,

four of the larger Caricom member states – Trinidad and

Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica and Guyana – simultaneously

encountered serious economic difficulties.

Dr Alvin Hilaire, then a

senior economist with the International

Monetary Fund, wrote

an article reviewing the countries’

strategies for economic stabilisation.

Trinidad and Tobago and

Jamaica both sought to address their difficulties with a

range of remedial actions including debt reprofiling, major

currency devaluations, public expenditure cuts, rationalisation

of state assets, and intervention in the financial services

sector. These measures came at a huge cost to their

respective economies.

Barbados’s major sectors – tourism, sugar and

manufacturing – were all declining, and the country faced

On reflection, one can argue that the

ambitions set out in the 1989 Grand

Anse Declaration (for the advancement

of the integration movement) were

always going to be difficult, though not

impossible, to achieve

Impact of economic challenges

On reflection, one can argue that the ambitions set out in

the 1989 Grand Anse Declaration (for the advancement

of the integration movement) were always going to be

difficult, though not impossible, to

achieve. Today, by and large, the

CSME objectives have not been

met.

While some commentators

can justifiably criticise Caribbean

governments for their lack of execution,

one view is that it would

have been incredibly difficult to achieve common market

status while the larger economies in the trade zone

were seriously afflicted by economic challenges. Out of

necessity, these governments became internally focused on

their individual economic priorities. It is arguable, then,

that the interests of the wider group of member states

would not have been aligned regionally – a pre-requisite

for achievement of the CSME goals.

chamber.org.tt

JUNE 2019 9


CSME: Are we getting it right?

Today, almost three decades since the

formation of the CSME, many Caricom

member countries are still experiencing

challenging economic circumstances

So what does the future hold

for small economies in a world

experiencing trade wars, Brexit, and

crisis in our neighbour Venezuela?

The return of sustainable growth in 2000 and beyond was then impeded by the

2009 global financial crisis. This affected most of the world’s more developed

countries, and ultimately led to long periods of economic decline in Caribbean

countries highly dependent on the offshore sector, and other countries vulnerable

to external shocks.

Today, almost three decades since the formation of the CSME, many Caricom

member countries are still experiencing challenging economic circumstances.

This has been exacerbated in no small measure by the external pressures exerted

by the EU and the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development in

their efforts to regulate the financial systems of these countries. These issues

and other internal pressures have resulted in the Caribbean states, with few

exceptions, being unable to attract adequate levels of foreign direct investment;

and economic growth is anemic at best.

The region's challenge

So what does the future hold for small economies in a world experiencing

trade wars, Brexit, and crisis in our neighbour Venezuela? How do small

nations realise big plans in a world fraught with major geopolitical events?

How will Caricom deal with these challenges, which have potentially disastrous

consequences for regional economies?

These are challenges that affect citizens in all our countries; they require

collaboration between businesses and governments in the region; they can only

be addressed by doing things differently – by innovating. No longer can the

Caribbean ignore the impact of these global trends and the potential debilitating

effects on our economies.

As 2020 approaches and we continue to look to the future, it is imperative

that our countries, despite lacking scale, develop bigger, bolder plans if we are

not to be left behind. There is a unique opportunity for regional governments

to work with the private sector to jump-start the realisation of the CSME vision.

First, we need to transform the public sector, the way we do business, and

put the needs of our citizens at the forefront.

Globally, transformation is driven by four mega-trends currently disrupting

the way we do business and how we compete:

• Technology: The rapid evolution of technology is enabling far-reaching

changes in society, and agile responses to these changes are being

demanded of business and government at a faster rate than ever before.

• Transparency: The demand for increased transparency in business and

government is transforming how we communicate to increase public and

private stakeholder engagement.

• Talent: The evolution of our talent needs will demand fundamental

changes in our education systems as governments and business seek to

develop a technologically-based workforce that can drive change and

competitiveness for business and government.

• Trade: The business and politics of global trade are being reshaped, and

government and business need to embrace new ways of helping, not

hindering, regional and international trade.

These four T’s, together with climate change and aging demographics, are

serious issues which governments in small, fragmented markets can face with

a collaborative effort across borders and across sectors.

10 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt


CSME: Are we getting it right?

Caricom and CSME member states, 2019

All 15 countries below are Caricom member states. These are the 12 full CSME member states: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize,

Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

Montserrat requires entrustment (approval) from the UK. Haiti is a partial CSME participant, with full integration carded for 2020.

The Bahamas is not a participant.

Key facts on CSME:

What is the CSME?

The CSME is a single large economic

space, created through the removal

of restrictions and resulting in the free

movement of:

• Goods

• Services

• Labour/Skills

• Capital

• Technology

6 million

MARKET

SIZE (Current)

+11 million

With Haiti in 2020

Key elements of CSME are:

1. Provision for the free movement

of goods, services and people

2. Provision for the free movement

of capital: through convertibility

of currencies (or a common currency)

and an integrated capital

market, such as a regional stock

exchange

3. A Common External Tariff and

free circulation of goods imported

from extra-regional sources

4. The establishment of a common

trade and economic policy

5. Right of establishment of

Caricom-owned businesses in any

member state without restrictions

6. Harmonisation of laws

Milestones

• The decision was taken in 1989

to establish the CSME in order to

deepen the integration movement.

• On 1 January, 2006, the Single

Market component of the CSME

came into being, initially involving

Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica,

Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The Caricom passport:

• Heads of Government agreed to the

issuance of a Caricom passport by

member states as a defining symbol

of regionalism.

• All twelve independent member

states participating in the CSME

now issue the Caricom passport.

Source: Natalie Dookie, Editor, CONTACT

chamber.org.tt

JUNE 2019 11


12 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt


CSME: Are we getting it right?

To realise the CSME vision, business

and government must collectively

embrace digital transformation as

an imperative, not an option

Colin Soo Ping Chow

Executive Chairman, EY Caribbean

The CSME will only accomplish

its ambitious goals if businesses,

governments and civil society are

prepared to collaborate, reinvent

themselves, and build a single

market and economy that is fit for

the transformative age. That’s how

we can get it right

Begin the journey now

To realise the CSME vision, business and government must collectively embrace

digital transformation as an imperative, not an option. This involves much more

than just acquiring new technology. It requires an overhaul of organisational

structures, governance, work processes, culture, and – most importantly –

mindset. Without this new mindset, real progress will remain difficult to achieve.

There is sufficient empirical evidence to support the proposition that

governments which effectively harness the power of digital transformation can

create better outcomes for citizens.

The benefits of public investment in technology can be seen in the example

of Estonia. One of the smallest countries in Europe, with a population of

1.3 million, Estonia only gained independence in 1991. Since then, it has

transformed itself, through innovation in the public sector and investment

in technology, from a country with little public infrastructure to a leader in

e-government.

It is estimated that 99% of all instances where Estonian citizens interact with

their government are through digital technology. E-government can provide

services more effectively and efficiently, find new solutions to policy challenges,

commercialise some public services, and develop new sources of revenue.

Like Estonia, CSME investment in digital transformation has the potential

to transform the entire region.

The bottom line

In summary, the Caribbean cannot continue to inch forward step by step and

still keep pace with today’s world. The CSME will only accomplish its ambitious

goals if businesses, governments and civil society are prepared to collaborate,

reinvent themselves, and build a single market and economy that is fit for the

transformative age. That’s how we can get it right.

The CSME set lofty goals in 1989, and the limited progress to date forces us

to ask some uncomfortable questions. Are we motivated to take the necessary

steps and actions to build a real common market, or are we still guarding our

individual castles? Can the Caribbean emerge stronger and more unified despite

differences in size, sectors, opportunities and challenges?

The answer is YES. But the goals of the CSME can no longer be set in

stone. They need to be supported by a dynamic organisational structure that is

autonomous, well-funded, and backed by governments which recognise that,

in a rapidly-evolving environment, the economic models of yesterday may not

be relevant tomorrow.

The fourth industrial revolution has arrived. The time to begin the journey

is now.

chamber.org.tt

JUNE 2019 13


CSME: Are we getting it right?

Can private sector energy

help to push CSME forward?

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley has promised to unlock the growth

potential of the CSME. The business community has pointed to a disconnect

between intent and reality. How can the private sector help with the

advancement of CSME?

by Renatta Mohammed

Regional Business Development Consultant,

iSolutions Caribbean

Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados

with lead responsibility for the Caricom

Single Market and Economy (CSME), is

committed to resuscitating the regional integrated

development strategy – and in a historic move, has

invited the private sector and labour to help do so.

Caricom’s Secretary General and Heads of Government

have openly conceded that the CSME has

been sluggish in delivering on its original intent.

Mottley agrees and is acting with urgency.

“Our only way out is to turn this region into

an economic power of note within the Americas.

It cannot happen with individual countries trying

to put one plus one, one by one by one. But if we

come together, in the context of a strong single

economy and a strong single market, all of a sudden

it looks different,” she has stated. “That battle

towards dominance requires a Usain Bolt approach,

not a Carnival-like (chip) approach.”

Speaking at the 14th regional Investments

and Capital Markets Conference in Jamaica at the

start of 2019, Mottley reiterated that the decision

to include stakeholders such as labour, the media,

youth and the private sector, is intended to “unlock

growth within the region”.

“Our political leadership must facilitate and shepherd,

not control and stifle,” she declared in her

maiden address. “What is most needed, I am convinced,

is to give our people the scope to express

their natural inclination to get things to a conclusion

in ways that are productive and beneficial to

the region as a whole. Our people should not have

to jump through hoops to make this happen.”

COURTESY PMO BARBADOS

Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley addresses the press after a special Caricom meeting on CSME

Unity is essential

But what’s in it for the individual markets, the private

sector and the people of the Caribbean? The

initial vision cites the main benefits as: “more and

better opportunities to produce and sell goods and

services and to attract investment; greater economies

of scale and increased competitiveness”. The

business community has publicly down-cried the

disjoint between intent and reality, but acknowledges

that the time is right to re-visit the CSME,

arguing that if we are to thrive within a changing

global economic climate, we must move collectively.

This climate has contributed to Mottley’s sense

of purpose.

The survival of small states such as ours, she has

said, depends on unity, “not just economically but

in the world of diplomacy”. More than ever, “we

14 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt


CSME: Are we getting it right?

BUSINESS

••

Access to a larger market of consumers

••

Strengthened competitiveness

••

Creation of regional companies

••

Harmonised standards of production

••

Increased economies of scale

COUNTRIES

THE BENEFITS OF FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CSME

CITIZENS

CSME

••

Enhanced investment opportunities

••

Common voice in in

international trade negotiations

••

Increased inflows of new capital, entrepreneurs and technology

••

Added intra-regional cooperation on human and social development

••

Improved services sector

••

Wider choice of goods and services

••

Lower consumer prices

••

Increased opportunities to invest via

direct stock ownership or mutual

fund investments

• Greater employment, travel

and study opportunities

need to stay together”, using Caricom as the vehicle

to allow regional countries to take “principled

decisions”. To ensure that CSME remains a priority

among the various national goals within the region,

Mottley has moved to convene prime ministerial

sub-committee meetings on a quarterly basis with

annual stakeholder consultations; and, coming out

of the December 2018 meeting in Trinidad, the St

Anns Declaration was crafted.

This newest manifesto includes an amendment

to allow representatives of the private sector and

the Caribbean Congress of Labour to participate

in Caricom Heads of Government meetings, giving

both business and labour a voice at the head

table. It also welcomes Haiti’s commitment to full

integration carded for 2020, which will add another

11 million consumers to the

market. The St Anns Declaration

speaks to the challenges

of our times and reflects

Mottley’s leadership style of

openness and inclusion.

Frustration

But already there are hints of

frustration. After a March 2019 summit in St Kitts,

Mottley said she found it difficult to face the media

and inform the region “that the contingent rights,

the protocol that was signed in July, still cannot

The Caricom Secretariat building, Georgetown, Guyana

The business community has publicly

down-cried the disjoint between intent

and reality, but acknowledges that

the time is right to re-visit the CSME,

arguing that if we are to thrive within a

changing global economic climate, we

must move collectively

be provisionally applied, because we do not have

enough member states who have signed; and that,

in spite of the declaration in Montego Bay [July

2018], we are not in a position to guarantee, in accordance

with the treaty . . .

a framework for dependents

and spouses.”

She also spoke of being

“a bit embarrassed” that,

having taken decisions on

the movement of agricultural

workers and security

guards during the December

2018 meeting in Trinidad, the tail appeared to be

wagging the dog. As an example, she suggested

that the Council for Human and Social Development

appeared to be “wagging” the Caricom lead-

COURTESY CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY

chamber.org.tt

JUNE 2019 15


CSME: Are we getting it right?

ST ANN’S DECLARATION ON CSME

Key agreements — Heads of Government of the Caribbean

Community (Caricom), meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad,

3-4 December, 2018:

••

Agreed on a formalised, structured mechanism

to facilitate dialogue between the Councils of the

Community and the private sector and labour

COURTESY CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY

••

Agreed to amend the Treaty to include as Associate

Institutions representative bodies of private sector and

labour

••

Agreed that that those Member States so willing would

move towards full free movement within the next three

years

••

Mandated that steps be taken to deepen cooperation

and collaboration between the Secretariats of Caricom

and the OECS to avoid duplication and maximise the

use of scarce resources

••

Agreed to reinforce the operation of security

mechanisms to ensure the integrity of the regime

allowing the free movement of Caricom nationals

••

Agreed to examine the re-introduction of the single

domestic space for passengers in the region

••

Agreed to work towards having a single security check

for direct transit passengers on multi-stop intra-

Community flights

••

Agreed to include agricultural workers, beauty

service practitioners, barbers and security guards in

the agreed categories of skilled nationals who are

entitled to move freely and seek employment within the

Community

••

Reiterated that a skills certificate issued by one

Member State would be recognised by all Member

States

••

Agreed to complete legislative and other arrangements

in all Member States for all categories of free

movement of skilled persons

••

Agreed to finalise the regime that permits citizens

and companies of the Community to participate in the

public procurement processes in Member States by

2019

••

Agreed to take all necessary steps to allow for mutual

recognition of companies incorporated in a Caricom

Member State

••

Welcomed Haiti’s commitment to full integration into

the CSME by 2020

••

Appointed Professor Avinash Persaud to lead a

restructured Commission on the Economy to advise

Member States on a growth agenda for the Community.

Source: CARICOM, 2019, https://caricom.org/media-center/

communications/press-releases/st-anns-declaration-on-csme

Caricom Heads of Government with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel in Jamaica

ers, since it was yet to reach a consensus on who is an

agricultural worker in the Caribbean.

“It has to do with the fundamental governance of this

institution because we need to be dealing with the strategic

issues here – and not having to now remove the

cobweb,” she warned. But cobweb removal seems to be

a necessary early step if this resurgence of energy is to

amount to tangible achievements.

The Heads of Government have proposed

that, while the CSME must remain at the

heart of regional integration, it must move

beyond functional cooperation – and regional

governments and the private sector are

being asked to share that vision

“Major policy decisions and the adoption of legal instruments

take much too long to be negotiated. We must

do more and do it more quickly,” Caricom’s Secretary

General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, has been quoted

as saying, even as he itemised accomplishments of the

CSME over the last 30 years.

Mottley has also cited “psychological impediments

and the closed mindsets in some quarters of officialdom”

as some of the reasons for the under-achievement of

Mottley says that, the survival of small states

such as ours, depends on unity, “not just

economically but in the world of diplomacy”.

More than ever, “we need to stay together”,

using Caricom as the vehicle to allow regional

countries to take “principled decisions”

the CSME. She explained that because the practical

implications of decisions are sometimes not worked

out beforehand, and the recording of decisions is often

not clear and precise, “these [decisions] fall victim to

bureaucratic inertia or resistance from those who did not

16 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt


CSME: Are we getting it right?

COURTESY PMO BARBADOS

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley at the Intersessional Meeting of Caricom Heads of

Government in St Kitts

participate meaningfully in their design or have not

been fully enlightened as to their positive purpose.”

Share the vision

The Heads have proposed that, while the CSME must

remain at the heart of regional integration, it must

move beyond functional cooperation – and regional

governments and the private sector are being asked to

share that vision. Mottley also acknowledges the need

for the regional Heads to continue self-analysis and

introspection.

She has pointed to the lack of movement on regional

travel by air and sea – and is now treating that

as a matter of priority. She has noted that there are

elements to the free movement of people that still need

to be addressed. She has announced that Barbados will

be removing the visa restrictions for Haiti, a signatory

to the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. At every given

opportunity, Mottley has called for better communication

and sharing of information across the region.

The original list of sectors to focus on under the

CSME was long. Some goals have been achieved –

but not enough to be felt in any substantial way

by the region’s business community and other key

stakeholders. So Mottley has championed a new and

narrower focus. Four key sectors for development

have been identified – renewable energy, agriculture

and food security, information and communication

technology, and maritime and air transport.

“The bottom line is that our economies are not necessarily

capable of surviving on their own in this difficult

and turbulent world . . . we need a greater level

of population to drive economic growth, and smarter,

seamless decisions to be able to fuel that economic

growth,” Mottley said.

All eyes are optimistically upon the CSME’s newest

instigator, plot twists and all.

ABOUT HAITI

Although Haiti’s business climate is challenging, it is one of the most open economies in the region. Its legislation

encourages foreign direct investment and provides the same rights, privileges, and protection to local and foreign

companies.


11 million

Population

Port-au-Prince

Capital

$766 US

GDP per capita

••

Most Haitian businesspeople speak English

••

Haiti has preferential access to major markets including

Canada, the US, and the European Union

••

Four major international security-certified ports

••

Two international airports offer daily flights between Haiti

and the US

••

There are few government controls or subsidies

••

The transport, telecommunications and oil sectors attract

most of the investors. More recently, construction, textiles,

and the manufacture of automotive components have also

attracted foreign investment

••

Weekly shipping service from Trinidad to Haiti

••

Level playing field for T&T exporters, as all countries face

the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) rate.

Sources: export.Gov, Haiti-Market Overview, https://www.export.gov/article?id=Haiti-Market-Overview;

exporTT, Why Haiti?, https://exportt.co.tt/2018/06/21/haiti-is-next-up-on-our-agenda/

chamber.org.tt

JUNE 2019 17


Services

The human

benefit of

machine

learning

Visit accaglobal.com/digital

COURTESY CHRISTINA MORELLO / PEXELS.COM

18 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt


Companies welcome

CSME movement

by Sasha Murray

Freelance writer

CSME: Are we getting it right?

The CSME remains a work in progress. Designed to let the region capitalise on its natural,

human and financial resources, its potential remains mostly untapped. Two Trinidad-based

firms, Karibbean Flavours and Guardian Life, explain the impact that the CSME has been

having on their regional businesses

The slow progress of CSME integration

“has resulted in a decline in economic benefits

and trade performance in the region when

compared with the 1970s,” according to

panellists at the annual general meeting

(AGM) of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of

Industry and Commerce. Held earlier this year

in April, the theme of the AGM’s lunchtime

discussion was the CSME.

So the recommendation made by the

Caricom Review Commission in its 2017 report

– to amend the treaty governing Caricom to

institutionalise the involvement of the private

sector – is welcome. Barbados Prime Minister

Mia Mottley, who has lead responsibility for

the CSME within Caricom, has also made it

clear that she accepts the change: the private

sector will have an integral part to play.

In the business world, the hope is that this enhanced

role will finally result in the full integration of the single

market and economy. Better access to wider markets, a

larger consumer base, increased economies of scale,

enhanced investment opportunities, and increased

competitiveness, are all keenly anticipated.

To underline the importance of accelerating CSME’s

evolution, let’s examine the experience of two Trinidad

and Tobago-based companies: RHS Marketing Limited’s

Karibbean Flavours brand, and Guardian Life of the

Caribbean Limited.

Karibbean Flavours: CSME helped grow our intraand

extra-regional imports

Since 1996, Ravi Sankar, founder of RHS Marketing

Limited, has been manufacturing and distributing a

wide range of premium seasonings, spices, condiments,

drinks, essences and browning products under the

Karibbean Flavours brand. Many of the products have

their roots in the region’s exotic cuisine and reflect a combination

of cultures and tastes.

The CSME has worked well for his company, Sankar

says, helping it to grow from a local supplier to a regional

COURTESY KARIBBEAN FLAVOURS

exporter. Starting with a small shipment to Antigua,

Karibbean Flavours now has a presence on store shelves in

several Caricom countries, including Barbados, Dominica,

Grenada, Guyana and Suriname.

“Regional distributors found it economical to purchase

from us under the CSME, as compared to the United States,

because there were no taxes on imports from Trinidad and

Tobago. Through the certifying body in Trinidad we were

able to get Caricom certificates for all the products we

produce, and this made it attractive for buyers.”

“We’d like to see some real initiatives come

out of CSME, that make the ease of doing

business across the region better and that will

ultimately benefit the populations as a whole”

When supply is not available locally, Karibbean Flavours

has also benefitted from duty-free access to ingredients

such as pepper and thyme, sometimes at lower prices.

The process is not without its challenges, however.

Sankar explains that, when shipping products, he

sometimes experiences difficulties in obtaining the relevant

documents on time from customs and excise. The delays

result in added costs for storage, among other things.

chamber.org.tt

JUNE 2019 19


CSME: Are we getting it right?

Karibbean Flavours products

can also be found beyond

the Caribbean, in the United

States, the United Kingdom

and Canada. Sankar says that

having a regional presence

has helped the firm expand

internationally. “With our

brand well represented in

Caricom, it is easier for diaspora

and tourist consumers who

reside in international markets

to recognise it.”

Customer Appreciation Day and 10th anniversary celebrations in Barbados

Guardian Life: a fully implemented

CSME benefits everyone

Guardian Life is a dynamic insurance and financial

institution which provides financial services across four

major territories in the English and Dutch Caribbean,

including Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and Barbados.

Established in1980, with head offices in Westmoorings,

Trinidad, Guardian Life is engaged in underwriting all

classes of long-term individual and group life, health

and pensions insurance business, as well as associated

investment activities.

“As a pan-Caribbean group, we

are starting to see the impact

of regional integration, where

our customers’ behaviours

are changing. For example, if

customers from Jamaica have

a policy in Trinidad, they want

to know more about how we

effect these transactions. So

it’s really about having the

framework in place, to allow

the free movement of people

and the free movement of business to grow, and have

greater access to markets and greater convenience.” Pascal

also notes that, even though “we all have very common

backgrounds, there are multiple regulators with multiple

financial standards to be dealt with.”

While hoping that ongoing work will yield tangible

CSME benefits for all, “we’d like to see some real initiatives

come out of it, that make the ease of doing business

across the region better and that will ultimately benefit

the populations as a whole. Where we realise investment

opportunities through expanded markets. This could only

redound to everyone’s benefit in the long run: governments,

policy holders, and the organisations in between.

COURTESY GUARDIAN GROUP BARBADOS

20 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt


Advertorial

Export-Import Bank

of Trinidad and Tobago

The Export Import Bank of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (EXIMBANK) remains the

only official Export Credit Agency (ECA) in the country. It has emerged out if what

was formerly the Trinidad and Tobago Export Credit Insurance Agency (EXCICO),

which was established in 1973 by the Government to promote the export of goods

and services. This allows regional buyers access to a wide range of manufactured

goods on credit terms.

EXIMBANK’s operations are funded principally by its own financial resources accumulated from profitable trading

operations over the years, and by various lines of credit provided by major financial institutions. EXIMBANK remains

a profitable, well managed, state owned financial institution working with local and regional financial institutions and

pursuing a business philosophy of promoting selective and controlled expansion of the export sector.

Products & Services

RAw MAtERIAl FINANcINg

This is a short-term loan/direct financing that the

EXIMBANK extends to an approved company to assist

in the payment of inventory, raw materials, semi-finished

or finished products. Once goods are received, the

exporter can now prepare products for local sale or

export. This facility is offered at competitive rates and

is designed for trade transactions that are short-term

and self-liquidated.

The tenor is customised to the exporter’s needs and

usually ranges from 30 to 270 days.

FActoRINg ANd dIscouNtINg

This facility provides short-term financing to exporting

manufacturers, distributors and service providers.

Businesses receive financing in the form of a loan

between 85 and 95 per cent of the invoice value of

export sales, which must be repaid from the assigned

proceeds of payments from EXIMBANK’s approved

buyers. This facility aims to bridge the gap between

the settlement of production costs and export sales

receipts, allowing a business to accelerate cash flow

and shorten operating cycles.

The tenor is designed to fit the relationship between

the exporter and their buyers. The credit period usually

ranges from 30 to 120 days Bill of Lading (B/L) or

Drawdown (DD).

AssEt FINANcINg

This facility can assist manufacturers seeking to perform

equipment upgrades to improve the quality of their

export products or for renovations of their premises.

The tenor is designed to the exporter’s needs and

usually ranges from one to seven years.

EXpoRt cREdIt INsuRANcE

This facility provides risk protection to exporters

against payment default by foreign buyers on goods

and services exported on credit terms. With this

protection, exporters have the confidence to venture

into emerging markets, thereby expanding their export

thrust. With the EXIMBANK credit insurance policy,

exporters can obtain protection against political and

commercial risks.

Premiums vary depending on the buyer’s creditworthiness,

payment terms, and the economic political

environment. Currently the premium rate ranges between

1.6 per cent and 3.5 per cent.

FoREX FAcIlIty

This facility was established by the Government of

Trinidad and Tobago in early 2018 to facilitate export

expansion. This facility is available to established and

existing manufacturers who are currently exporting or

have a confirmed export order. Start-ups or fledgling

manufacturers with confirmed orders will also be

favourably considered. Small to medium sized (SME)

companies with annual sales from TTD$50K but not

exceeding TTD$100M are eligible to apply. Flexibility

will be considered based on export percentage.

Exim House

#30 Queen’s Park West

P.O.S., Trinidad & Tobago, W.I.

Phone: (868) 628-2762

Fax: (868) 622-3545

Email: eximbank@eximbanktt.com

www.eximbanktt.com


Voice of business

the voice of business on. . .

Labour relations

What is your view of the current labour relations climate

in Trinidad & Tobago? How can it be improved?

The current labour relations climate is a challenging one. We are still

seeing a lot of issues where trade unions are difficult to work with. In a

stagnating economy such as ours, it is an especially difficult time for labour,

and unfortunately unions still deem the employer an aggressor, which creates

an increasingly volatile situation.

Reyaz Ahamad

President, Trinidad & Tobago Chamber

of Industry & Commerce;

Executive Director, Southern Sales

and Service Company Limited

For years the Chamber has advocated

for a balanced judicial composition

of public and private sector

representation in the IR court

Recent examples, such as the restructuring exercises at Petrotrin and TSTT,

demonstrate the need for a more conversational approach to industrial relations,

where the employee and the employer work together to resolve matters. The

world of work is changing, and nearly every sector in Trinidad and Tobago

has evolved and modernised. We need a more robust industrial relations

environment in keeping with this.

The climate can improve if workers and employers have more discussion

on how to move forward. Too often, stakeholders perceive that the employer is

being unfair, but we need to examine the entire industry that we are operating

in and consider what is reasonable and unreasonable.

There is too much of a strong divide, so I hope to see the aggressive approach

of the labour unions change, and the industrial court embrace a more holistic

approach as we move forward.

We are also working with an Industrial Relations Act that is over 46 years

old. This needs to be overhauled to align with global best practice. For years the

Chamber has advocated for a balanced judicial composition of public and private

sector representation in the IR court, so we welcome the recent appointment of

new judges, and look forward to seeing how the climate will continue to evolve

in Trinidad and Tobago.

We are also working with an Industrial

Relations Act that is over 46 years old.

This needs to be overhauled to align

with global best practice.

22 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt


Voice of business

Teresa White

Group Human Resource Director,

ANSA McAL Limited

Unproductive, unhealthy, destructive and anachronistic: last year

Trinidad and Tobago’s labour relations were ranked lowest in the global

competitiveness index, out of 140 nations. The year before it was 133 out

of 134 nations. So things are getting worse at a time in our history when they

really need to get better.

The world has never been more competitive, but T&T’s industrial relations are

steeped in the belief that all commercial employers are inherently exploitative,

and only trade unions can keep them in check. Where that is the prevailing

belief, adversarialism and suspicion are inevitable. And this saddens me on a

very profound level.

The climate can be easily improved, as the assumption of natural enmity

between employer and employee is simply not valid. Most employers are

represented by good people who believe that when their company wins, their

employees win; and that profit is for sharing and for future investment in

sustainable livelihoods.

Most employers care deeply about the personal circumstances of their employees

and families; and most believe in democracy, equality and engagement. Our laws and institutions need to ensure

that these noble sentiments are applied in practice, and that there is consequence for the minority of employers who

don’t operate that way.

These institutions must be just and equitable; they shouldn’t see their role as making employers pay for the social ills

that still plague our nation. They should view employees as independent and self-directed citizens who are entitled to a

safe environment, decent earnings, and constructive working relations; and those who fail to live up to their contractual

obligations should face the consequences.

But most of all, these institutions should be functioning in the background; employers and employees should be

allowed to cooperate and get on with the task at hand. There is so much that needs to be done. Make no mistake: it isn’t

our success, but our survival that depends on it.

Derek Ali

Member, Employment & Labour

Relations Committee

Trinidad & Tobago Chamber

of Industry & Commerce;

attorney at law

The current climate, from my perspective as an industrial relations

litigator and an industrial relations practitioner, is not as useful as it could

be. It is very adversarial and confrontational, not designed to solve problems.

The labour environment has not changed for decades. Our industrial

relations tools and mechanisms are not conducive to an efficient and effective

resolution of disputes. The legislation needs redefining, and to be codified into

a single code.

Due to the absence of modern legislation, there is too much room for

ambiguity and for people’s opinions to be parachuted into what they think is

good industrial relations. The punitive effects of judgements and decisions by

the IR court are hurting business. Our IR climate needs to align with the new

millennium, and to align globally to foster and encourage the growth of new

and existing businesses, as well as foreign direct investment.

The labour relations environment can be improved in two key ways. First,

we need a fundamental shift in thinking by labour about how it views business

and capital. No reciprocal action is needed as to how business views labour,

because business has already gone a long way with respect to aligning itself

with what is needed to manage manpower in this new age.

Second, we need legislative reform. We need a labour code that conforms

to basic terms and conditions, rights and regulations. The current legislation is conducive to people diving in with their

own opinions in spaces where the legislation is deficient. That is why some judgements are hurting business and creating

a toxic labour relations climate.

chamber.org.tt

JUNE 2019 23


Are you ready for

a natural disaster?

COURTESY THE MINISTRY OF WORKS AND

TRANSPORT OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

Heavy rain caused major losses and devastation in south Trinidad

Have you ever wondered what would happen in Trinidad and Tobago in the

event of a large earthquake, a tsunami, or a major hurricane? Would you and

your staff know what to do? Would your business survive? Are you fully insured,

or just hoping it will never happen?

by Ravindranath Goswami

President, REACT Trinidad and Tobago Council

24 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt


Disaster preparedness

Disaster preparedness is a hot topic during and after events such as fires,

tropical storms, flooding, and earthquakes. In quieter times, the need to

plan and invest in solutions tends to become less urgent. But a real national

conversation is needed around the concept of disaster risk reduction. In the

business world, we must also consider business continuity management (BCM).

Hazards

A hazard is a source of potential damage, a threat. Hazards can be broadly

classified into two categories – natural and anthropogenic (i.e. related to human

behaviour and activity).

According to the Association of Caribbean

States (ACS), between 1990 and 2008 the

Caribbean experienced 165 natural disasters,

with total costs estimated at US$136 billion,

of which half was direct economic impact

NATURAL HAZARDS

Storms

Lightning

Floods

Landslides

Earthquakes

Tsunamis

Volcanic activity

ANTHROPOGENIC HAZARDS

Chemical

Biological

Nuclear

Crime

Terrorism

Combat/wars

Famine

Cybersecurity

Whether a hazard leads to a disaster is largely dependent on vulnerability, risk,

mitigation measures, and overall resilience.

Term

Vulnerability

Incident

Disaster

Mitigation

Resilience

Risk

Definition

A weakness in a system that increases susceptibility to impacts

An unplanned occurrence that requires a response

An occurrence, often sudden, that causes great damage or loss of life

Proactively minimising the impact and loss, and facilitating recovery from

an incident

Ability to adapt to or recover from hazards, achieved by planning ahead

The probability of something failing (likelihood) times the consequence of

it happening (impact, damage or loss)

Trinidad and Tobago’s main areas of

disaster risk in the period 1990-2014, from

an economic standpoint, were seismic and

hydrometeorological, according to UNISDR

(the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk

Reduction). Fires accounted for the highest

incidence of mortality

Risk and vulnerability

According to the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), between 1990 and 2008

the Caribbean experienced 165 natural disasters, with total costs estimated at

US$136 billion, of which half was direct economic impact.

Trinidad and Tobago’s main areas of disaster risk in the period 1990-2014,

from an economic standpoint, were seismic and hydrometeorological, according

to UNISDR (the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction). Fires

NATIONALLY REPORTED LOSSES (1990-2014) , TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

11.2

7.1

Fire

Landslide

27.9

55

21.4

64.3

Earthquake

Storm

Wind Storm

Flood

Flashflood

Other

COMBINED ECONOMIC LOSSES

MORTALITY

N.B. All scale

disasters without

criteria

Source: United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), 2014

chamber.org.tt JUNE 2019

25


Disaster preparedness

accounted for the highest incidence of mortality.

In 2014, a vulnerability assessment published by the

Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM)

in Trinidad and Tobago further detailed the actual and

potential hazards to which the country is exposed.

Natural

EARTHQUAKES

& AFTERSHOCKS

TSUNAMIS

LIQUEFACTION

MUD VOLCANOES

LATERAL

SPREADING

ACTUAL AND POTENTIAL HAZARDS TO

WHICH TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO IS EXPOSED

Seismic

HAZARDS LIST

FIRES

POLLUTION/CONTAMINATION:

air, water, soil, etc

LIGNITE COMBUSTION

Environmental

Social

Organisational

LOOTING, TERRORISM,

CYBER SABOTAGE

MAJOR ACCIDENTS:

transport, infrastructure failure, etc

INTERRUPTION

OF SERVICES:

power failure,

telecommunication, etc

Anthropogenic

not specifically include natural disasters. But, given the

prevalence of ICT, special attention must be paid to the

risks posed by cyber-security attacks (listed as #5)

Global top ten risks for doing business

1. Unemployment or underemployment

2. Failure of national governance

3. Energy price shock

4. Fiscal crises

5. Cyber-attacks

6. Profound social instability

7. Failure of financial mechanism or institution

8. Failure of critical infrastructure

9. Failure of regional and global governance

10. Terrorist attacks

Source: World Economic Forum, 2018

What do disasters cost?

TROPICAL

CYCLONES:

hurricanes/tropical storms

disturbances/depressions

FLOODING: land and sea borne

LANDSLIDES: falls, topples,

lateral spreads and flows

HIGH WINDS

MICROBURSTS

DROUGHT

TORNADOES

STORM SURGE

LIGHTNING

Hydrometeorological

Biological

DISEASE

infectious/non-infectious:

epidemics, pandemics, etc

HARMFUL ANIMALS:

bees, vectors: mosquitoes, rodents etc

Industrial

Technological

EXPLOSIONS

FIRES

SPILLS, LEAKS, AND

EMISSIONS:

gas, chemicals & other

hazardous substances

ODPM data for 2006-2010 show that the cost of damage

associated with natural disasters is steadily increasing.

HAZARD LOSSES, 2006-2010 (TT$)

POISONINGS

Source: Preliminary Vulnerability Assessment of Trinidad and Tobago, 2014, Office of Disaster

Preparedness & Management (ODPM), www.odpm.gov.tt

The perennial risk of flooding and landslides is strongest

in specific areas (see below).

The Pacific Disaster Centre (PDC) is currently engaged

in a collaborative project assisting Trinidad and Tobago

to complete a National Disaster Preparedness Baseline

Assessment (NDPBA).

Business risk

The World Economic Forum, in enumerating the “Top Ten”

general risks for doing business (see table below), does

Flood insurance claims (ATTIC)

Urgent Temporary Assistance (MPSD)

Relief items (ODPM)

Source: Disaster Risk Reduction Country Document, Trinidad and Tobago, 2014,

Office of Disaster Preparedness & Management (ODPM), www.odpm.gov.tt

Payments to farmers (MFPLMA)

Emergency Relief Fund (MHE)

TOTAL

Flood multi-risk map, Trinidad

Landslide multi-risk map, Trinidad

Source: Office of Disaster Preparedness & Management (ODPM), www.odpm.gov.tt

chamber.org.tt

JUNE 2019 27


Disaster preparedness

Disaster impacts

Disasters affect both business interests and consumers in

various ways.

Consumer impacts

Health issues, disease, poor

sanitation, loss of life

Loss of property

Damaged records and items of

sentimental value

Accessibility of goods and

services

Increase in insurance rates

Family conflict

Deferred life objectives

Reduced income and increased

cost of living

Mitigation

Manager

Mitigation,

Planning and

Research Unit

ORGANISATION STRUCTURE OF THE ODPM

Operations

Manager

Preparedness

and Response

Unit

Chief Executive Officer

Deputy CEO

Training & Education

Specialist

Public Information,

Education and

Community Outreach

Unit

Business impacts

Negative impacts on safety and

security of employees and their

ability to return to work

Physical assets damaged, resulting

in interruption of production

and facilities

Loss of records

Delay in deliveries to customers

Supply chain disruptions

Communications channels constrained

Delay in achieving strategic objectives.

Some never recover

Increased costs and reduction in

profit

National disaster management authorities

The agency responsible for disaster response and risk

management at the national level is the ODPM.

Corporate Services

Manager

Administrative

Support and

Finance Unit

Source: Office of Disaster Preparedness & Management (ODPM), www.odpm.gov.tt

Project Management

Specialist

Project

Management

Unit

The ODPM is a centralised organisation that works

closely with the Disaster Management Units (DMUs) of

all the municipal corporations and the Tobago Emergency

Management Agency (TEMA). The DMUs report to the

CEOs of their respective corporations, with a dotted line to

the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government

(MRD&LG).

ODPM has access to a pool of resources, and within the

National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) leverages

the supporting and responding agencies via the Emergency

Support Functions.

Surveying the estimated human capital complement

of the organisations shown below, reveals something of

a resource constraint, given their responsibilities, 24x7

activation, population densities, and wide geographical

coverage.

Estimated human resource requirements:

Trinidad & Tobago emergency organisations

Disaster

management

agencies

ODPM TEMA +

Professional

CERTs

MRD

&LG

Establishment 40 70 56 56

Current staffing N/A 48 56 52

Vacancies N/A 22 0 4

Additional needed N/A 0 0 28

Source: Author, April 2019

MUNICIPAL

DMUs

TEMA is well organised and configured for rapid

response, partly achieved using professional CERTs

(Community Emergency Response Teams), a programme

that trains volunteers in aspects of disaster preparedness

and response.

In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, these

volunteers are already on scene, rendering assistance,

clearing fallen trees, putting out fires, providing first aid,

and undertaking light search and rescue. Official responder

agencies may be overwhelmed and take some time to get

to affected areas, especially if they are remote.

In TEMA’s case, the CERTs are staffers. In Trinidad, there

are approximately 1,000 trained CERT volunteers attached

to DMUs. There is a very ambitious desire to have at least

10% of the population trained in CERT. There is a common

view that each of the DMUs would need an additional two

field officers to cope with the onerous responsibilities.

A National Response Framework (NRF) facilitates coordination

between state agencies and Non-Governmental

Organisations (NGOs) for a range of activities such as early

warning, assessment, emergency operations and relief.

Trinidad and Tobago is also part of CDEMA, the

Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency,

a regional organisation comprising 18 states, with a

Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) strategy.

The Incident Command System (ICS) used by CDEMA

MINISTRIES &

AGENCIES

CENTRAL

GOVERNMENT

NATIONAL

RESPONSE

FRAMEWORK

LOCAL

GOVERNMENT

PRIVATE SECTOR

AND NGOs

Source: Office of Disaster Preparedness & Management (ODPM), www.odpm.gov.tt

28 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt


Disaster preparedness

is a standardised approach to the command, control

and coordination of emergency response from multiple

agencies across the region.

State of preparedness

It is common to hear at press briefings that we are well

prepared to handle disaster situations, despite the views

often expressed by citizens suggesting the opposite. The

reason for the divergence could well be a combination of

factors: a positive public relations posture, technocratic

insider knowledge, different perspectives, and divergent

expectations. After-action reviews by the agencies do

highlight gaps to be addressed and encourage a process of

continual improvement.

Greenvale 2018

The costs associated with the flooding which took place

at Greenvale in October 2018 are still being calculated.

Relevant agencies are making steady progress in restoring

the community. Some estimates suggest that costs may

approach TT$250 million. While yeoman service was

rendered by responder agencies, questions have arisen

regarding response times, and also about planning and

development issues which may have exacerbated the

disaster.

The volunteer factor

The role of volunteers should not be overlooked. Many

NGOs, Faith-based Organisations and Communitybased

Organisations are involved in the various aspects

of disaster preparedness and response. Due to size and

complexity, no territory would be able to manage a disaster

without the involvement of “good Samaritans”.

Radio Emergency Associated Communications Teams

(REACT) is an international voluntary organisation, geared

toward reliable and resilient communication. Locally,

REACT works closely with emergency and disaster

management agencies and first responders and is written

into the emergency response plans of some businesses

in T&T.

The Emergency Management Association of T&T

(EMATT) is a newly-formed NGO that promotes the

strengthening of a disaster risk reduction culture.

Businesses should pay attention to the work of these

entities and consider engaging with and supporting their

efforts.

Business continuity

Business continuity planning is the commercial equivalent

of public sector disaster preparedness and management. It

involves planning for operations during a crisis or disaster

by ensuring that essential functioning can continue or

quickly resume after the incident. Full resumption as

quickly as possible is an objective of the process, and

HISTORICAL

IMPACTS

Some of the

incidents which

Trinidad and

Tobago has

experienced – or

narrowly missed –

since 1963.

Year

1963

1974

1988

1990

1993

1997

2000

2004

2005

2006

2007

2011

2012

2013

2017

2018

Source: Author, April 2019

Hazards

• Hurricane Flora

• Tropical Storm Alma

• 6.2 earthquake

• Tropical Storm Arthur

Tropical Storm Fran

• Tropical Storm Bret

• 6.1 earthquake

• Tropical Storm Joyce

• Hurricane Ivan

• Hurricane Emily

• 5.8 earthquake

• Hurricane Felix

• Landslides and flooding

• Landslides and flooding

• 6.4 earthquake

• Tropical Storm Bret

• 6.9 earthquake

Flooding

may require external recovery services. Given the critical

nature of data, a comprehensive policy-driven IT Disaster

Recovery Plan (DRP) is essential.

The way forward

If a disaster plan is not already in place for you and your

business, here are some suggestions.

1. Establish a steering committee.

2. Develop a Business Continuity Programme

(BCP), internally or by employing consultants,

referencing standards such as ISO 22301. Ensure

alignment with business strategy, and have

stakeholder consultations. Conduct a risk and

vulnerability assessment, a business impact

analysis, and develop emergency response

procedures and disaster recovery plans.

3. Test and update the plan.

4. Review and improve infrastructure and policies.

5. Carefully consider insurance. Ensure it covers the

type of damage you may encounter and provides

enough coverage to return your business to

operation. Guardian Group and Sagicor among

others offer comprehensive insurance packages.

6. Train employees on the BCP and ICS.

7. Review performance indicators and maintain

focus.

8. Engage in community discussions and consider

mutual-aid schemes.

chamber.org.tt

JUNE 2019 29


Business profile

Angela Lee Loy:

breaking business barriers

She has been breaking glass ceilings in the Trinidad

and Tobago business world for more than 40 years.

She thinks of companies as extended families.

What drives her? CONTACT asked Angela Lee Loy

some direct personal questions

by by Pat Ganase

Freelance writer

I believe in creating strategic alliances

and partnerships, rather than investing in

bricks and mortar

Caribbean Resourcing Solutions (CRS)

joined us in 2015 with a focus on oil and

gas and information technology. It is not

difficult to merge firms when your values

are the same

To begin with your business role: what is your core business at Aegis?

We offer financial services which can be used by any other company,

whether it is an established local company, a multinational, a start-up, or an

international company seeking to do business in Trinidad and Tobago. We

provide administrative services to help clients become statutorily compliant.

This would range from work permits, payrolls, and tax returns to associated

human resource management and accounting services.

I believe in people providing services, creating strategic alliances and

partnerships, rather than investing in bricks and mortar. Our people are

knowledgeable and adaptable, and can work on or off site. We have two

locations, Port of Spain and Chase Village, but technology allows us to work

from anywhere. My job as head of the company is quality assurance; I am the

common denominator for all our teams.

It was a simple step to link the services of Eve Anderson [Recruitment

Limited] to Aegis. We acquired Eve Anderson in 2012, as they cover the

spectrum of recruitment and human resource services. Caribbean Resourcing

Solutions joined us in 2015 with a focus on oil and gas and information

technology. It is not difficult to merge firms when your values are the same.

How do you mentor others?

Mentoring is an important aspect of my job, being a bouncing board for

people who come to me with solutions. In October 2018, I was in Hong Kong

when I saw reports on the floods in Trinidad, and that the southbound lane

of the highway was closed. I thought, how do I mentor my people out in

the field? The first thing I did was to check that all my staff were OK. Then,

because transportation was disrupted, I told them that they should go into their

communities and help. Work could wait. As chairman, I was empowering my

staff to help those in need.

When I give a mentoring talk, I don’t have theories: I tell stories about real

experiences. I often say, don’t only have relationships with your contemporaries,

30 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt


Business profile

get to know older people who have so much experience and knowledge to share,

and hear their stories. And younger persons, who are creative and innovative

in surprising ways. If you lead millennials, you need to understand what

stimulates them, how they think.

Angela Lee Loy FCCA CA

••

First female President of the

Institute of Chartered Accountants

of the Caribbean

••

First female President of the

Institute of Chartered Accountants

of Trinidad & Tobago

••

Former Trinidad and Tobago

representative on the International

Assembly of ACCA

••

aaca Achievement Award for the

Americas, 2008, for outstanding

contribution to the accountancy

profession and to business and

society

••

Founder and executive chairman of

Aegis Group of Companies

••

Chairman of Aegis Business

Solutions Limited

••

Chairman of Eve Anderson

Recruitment Limited

••

Chairman of Caribbean Resourcing

Solutions Limited

••

Partner, Aegis & Company

••

Fellow of the Association of

Chartered Certified Accountants

(UK)

What gives you strength?

They say it takes a village to raise a child. My village is my big family, my

friends, my husband, my staff. My network becomes an extended family. I am

a very contented person. My mother used to say, learn to be content.

I grew up in Barataria but spent long vacations in Mayaro where my

godmother had land. She had pigs, fowls and lots of fruit trees. There were

seven of us; I was the youngest girl. My father was a health inspector with a

route that took him out into the countryside. He knew everybody.

I attended Nelson Street Roman Catholic primary school, but I was not a

scholar. I dreaded Common Entrance (now SEA), and shocked myself by passing

for St Joseph’s Convent. I was going there with all the bright kids.

Because I knew that I had a lot to learn, I developed habits of diligence and

discipline. I took nothing for granted. I learned to be humble. People like to

deal with people who are authentic.

I also learned to tap into spirituality. You have to find time to be quiet and

get closer to your God. Find time to praise, meditate, and be still for a moment.

That’s a very powerful habit to cultivate.

What is your goal in business?

It is that all my employees are secure

and can give 100 per cent. If a person

is ill, has problems at home or is

worrying about their children, they

cannot perform fully. My company

is embedding a new business culture

where employees feel supported. This is

If a person is ill, has problems

at home or is worrying about

their children, they cannot

perform fully. My company is

embedding a new business

culture where employees feel

supported.

the philosophy that I pass on to my practice leaders and to everyone in my

organisation. Hopefully, it will extend to clients and beyond. It is the only way

I believe our business culture can change for the better.

COURTESY AEGIS

••

Former President of the Trinidad

and Tobago Coalition of Services

Industries

••

Chairman of the National AIDS

Coordinating Committee

••

Chairman of Foundation for Social

Justice

••

Chairman of Music Literacy Trust

••

Director of several public and

private companies and not-for-profit

organisations.

In 2008 Angela Lee Loy was presented with the ACCA Achievement Award by then ACCA President Richard Aitken-Davies (right) and

Sir John Stuttard, former Lord Mayor of London and Vice-Chairman of PwC UK's Advisory Panel

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32 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt


Business profile

COURTESY MUSIC LITERACY TRUST

Music Literacy Trust: City Angels "Study in E Minor"

Because I knew that I had a lot to learn I developed

habits of diligence and discipline. I took nothing for

granted. I learned to be humble. People like to deal with

people who are authentic.

What about your role beyond business?

Because I have the people that I do, I am able to get involved in ways that help

society. I am very proud of my practice leaders – they have the company’s

interest at heart. Mistakes? The biggest ones are those that I’ve made by myself;

we can minimise them through consultation and collaboration.

When I became Chairman of the National AIDS Coordinating Committee, I

thought, wow, I’d better find out what this is all about. I had to get up to scratch

quickly. This was about our society, and its ability to show compassion in a

vulnerable sector.

This is how I approach all the not-for-profit boards that I have been invited

to sit on. It’s a continuous learning curve that begins with getting all the

information and then figuring out how I can help.

In one organisation, we are looking at the resilience of islands affected by

extreme disasters like hurricanes. I am also involved with the Music Literacy

Trust, which deals with the sustainability of pan musicianship, and the Social

Justice Foundation, which has been training children in rural areas in digital

videography.

I think I am able to do these things because my companies are ethical, productive

and driven: that gives me the freedom to help build other organisations.

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JUNE 2019 33


MARCI PARAVIA/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

34 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt


Growth and learning corner

The Chamber's growth and learner corner

What have you read, watched or listened to lately that

has contributed to your growth and development as a

businessperson?

Reyaz Ahamad

President, Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Industry & Commerce;

Executive Director, Southern Sales and Service Company Limited

I have been reading anything I can get my hands on regarding corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Businesses need to play a greater role in improving society by delivering economic, social and environmental

benefits for all their stakeholders.

There are many ways in which this can be accomplished locally. Even at a grassroots level, businesses can

implement simple initiatives which make a positive impact. Investing in CSR can boost employee engagement

and enhance stakeholder relationships, as people want to be associated with an organisation making a difference

in the world.

If you make your country, business and community a better place, then it becomes a better place not only

to work in but to live in too. This is what we are trying to achieve within our business – improve our social

responsibility internally to staff and externally to the communities in which we work.

Kiran Maharaj

Managing Director, Caribbean Lifestyle Communications;

President, Media Institute of the Caribbean;

President, Trinidad & Tobago Publishers & Broadcasters Association

Principles by Ray Dalio is one of the more recent business books that I have read. I think it has a lot of

lessons for any businessperson, especially entrepreneurs.

It was recommended by a very good friend who is one of the smartest people I know, so I knew I had to

read it. The book is about Ray’s experience from failing to rebuild himself, where he explains how to manoeuvre

challenges to get your desired outcome.

The insights are instructive and give guidance for both your personal and professional life. So if you want

to have an insider view of a success story and what one person’s road map was, it’s a great book from which

to gain that perspective.

Dr Christian Stone

Director, 3Stone Research and Consulting

While it’s important to be well read within your field (which is entrepreneurship and strategy for me), I

think that reading outside your field is essential to improving creativity and making connections in innovative

ways.

Recently I’ve been reading Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Having no formal

training in physics, the concepts, especially those that are counter-intuitive, push the boundaries of what I

think is possible and help to connect dots that I never imagined existed. As noted in the book, “People who

believe they are ignorant of nothing have neither looked for, nor stumbled upon, the boundary between what

is known and unknown in the universe.”

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JUNE 2019 35


Innovation in business

Meet the Agripreneurs

Harnessing the power of innovation, leading “agripreneurs” – entrepreneurs

in agriculture – are using research and development to deliver health

benefits and food security to consumers. Stacy Seeterram and Sophia Stone

reveal the health benefits of Caribbean Cure teas, and Christian Young Sing

explains how he operates a sustainable farming business

by Jeanette G. Awai

Freelance writer

By keeping it 100% natural, with no

additives or flavourings, Caribbean Cure

made its healing loose-leaf teas stand

out on the global market

Sometimes, to modernise business, you have to look back at cultural

traditions. That’s what Stacy Seeterram and Sophia Stone did with Caribbean

Cure’s line of teas. They took Caribbean “bush tea” and turned it into a handcrafted

premium product.

By keeping it 100% natural, with no additives or flavourings, Caribbean

Cure made its healing loose-leaf teas stand out on the global market. The

successful pairing of familiar ingredients like mauby, moringa, ginger and

turmeric, with traditional tea ingredients using a special dehydration process,

created a custom, nutritive and delicious brew.

Award-winning teas

Two years ago, Stone says, “this was just a dream shared in a kitchen”. But

their product gained recognition on a global scale when they were awarded

two Global Tea Championships. They also received a SIAL Selection in

Innovation award in Paris. That accomplishment was particularly exciting

for the entrepreneurial duo: they were up against nearly 3,000 international

companies which were far bigger and better-known in European circles than

their smaller Caribbean product line.

Getting support from the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA),

Stone notes, was “exceptionally lucky, and helped expose our products

internationally. As two women in agro-processing and export, we have

benefitted from CEDA’s WE-Xport programme (supporting Caribbean women

in business), and have also worked hard to build our brand locally and

36 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt


Innovation in business

COURTESY CARIBBEAN CURE

internationally through partnerships and relationship building. We were also

participants in the Shell LiveWIRE programme, among others that have

assisted us in getting to the next phase of growth in business.”

Sophia Stone and Stacy Seeterram,

Founders of Caribbean Cure

Creating new blends, new ingredients,

and new tea experiences – including

a new tea-bag line – are just some of

the things we can look forward to from

Caribbean Cure

90% of the water is reused in CRISP’s

farming, which is a great eco-friendly

alternative to traditional growing

methods where water is single-use

Preparing for export

To make Caribbean tea an international phenomenon, Caribbean Cure had

to hold their product to the highest standards. “We have ensured that our

packaging, ingredients and processes go a step above by solving the challenge

of ‘superfood teas’ which actually contain healing properties and are of

exceptionally high quality. We wanted to create a high-end product that uses

the very best ingredients and offers consumers a truly premium loose-leaf tea

experience that showcases the indigenous gifts that are part of the regional

agricultural industry.”

Creating new blends, new ingredients, and new tea experiences – including

a new tea-bag line – are just some of the things we can look forward to

from Caribbean Cure. Currently, the two entrepreneurs are working on a joint

venture in Japan, where they will be manufacturing blends for sale in the Asian

markets by late 2019.

Keeping things CRISP

For the CEO of Epilimnion Aquaculture Limited, Christian Young Sing,

innovation started six years ago, when he decided to take a fresh look at the

science of agriculture. His retail brand, CRISP, offers customers three types of

locally-grown baby lettuce in its gourmet salad and microgreen mixes – kale,

purple cabbage and arugula.

Young Sing uses recirculating hydroponic technology, a growing method

that is crop-specific and optimised for each plant’s needs, using LED growlights

to attain higher yields. 90% of the water is reused in CRISP’s farming,

which is a great eco-friendly alternative to traditional growing methods where

water is single-use.

CRISP strives to maintain a high-quality sustainable product down to

the compostable “vegware” packaging. But the operation is not without its

chamber.org.tt

JUNE 2019 37


Innovation in business

COURTESY EPILIMNION AQUACULTURE

Christian Young Sing

Founder and CEO of Epilimnion Aquaculture

CRISP’s science-based approach

gives it a competitive edge

by growing non-traditional

crops suitable for Trinidad and

Tobago’s climate

challenges. Young Sing warns: “If production is not forecast and executed

to meet demand, a shortfall will cost you clients, and inversely a surplus

will many times result in a glut of wasted produce. This, in part, is why

farming is such an unforgiving business.”

However, the company’s science-based approach gives it a competitive edge

by growing non-traditional crops suitable for Trinidad and Tobago’s climate.

As a local supplier, CRISP can provide fresher produce with a longer shelf life

to both restaurants and caterers, and to supermarket chains and gourmet stores.

From idea to innovation

A “calculated jump” into entrepreneurship kick-started Young Sing’s

entrepreneurial spirit back in 2012, when he won the Idea to Innovation (i2i)

competition. The grant he was awarded helped to establish the business, by

reinvesting profits generated through focused product selection and client

targeting. Moving forward, this model is the benchmark Young Sing wants to

continue using.

Ultimately, the goal is to expand the facility into a large-scale commercial

operation which can broaden its products from niche-market items to highvolume

vegetable crops, using cutting-edge technology to manipulate the

growing environment.

The local environment, however, still has some work to do to keep

innovators like Young Sing from becoming frustrated with technical hiccups. He

recommends that businesses like his can benefit from streamlined applications

for permits and incentives; regular online dissemination of up-to-date

information; resolving land acquisition issues; and providing tax incentives

for farmers. He encourages other entrepreneurs to push forward like a scientist

would, by “having a sound framework and realistic thought process to support

your business idea. This will help you gain confidence in your product and

attain successful outcomes.”

38 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt


chamber.org.tt

JUNE 2019 39


Five top facts

5 top facts about

The Caricom market

by Sasha Murray

Freelance writer

The Caribbean Community (Caricom) consists of 15 member states and five

associate members. It claims to be the “oldest surviving integration movement in

the developing world”. The main economic activities are fuel and mining (notably

oil, gas, bauxite and gold), agriculture, forestry and tourism.

1. How big is the Caricom market?

Caricom is home to about 18 million citizens, 60% of whom are under the age of 30. Haiti (about 11 million) has the

largest population, followed by Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. Montserrat has the smallest population (about 5,000),

followed by Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands

2. Which is the fastest growing economy in Caricom?

According to the Caribbean Development Bank (2018 Caribbean Economic Review and 2019 Outlook), Grenada is the fastest

growing economy in Caricom, at 5.2% (2018). It is closely followed by Antigua and Barbuda at 3.5%, and Guyana at 3.4%.

Grenada also has a positive medium-term outlook, with the CDB projecting 4.5% economic growth in 2019.

Top 10 countries by conventional discovered volumes in 2018

Million boe 2071

3. Which Caricom state topped the world

for conventional oil discoveries in 2018?

2000

1500

1000

500

0

Guyana

1336

Russia

United States

Source: Rystad Energy ECube, December 2018

746

672 671

Cyprus

Oman

498

Norway

350

Australia

On land

Offshore

305

United Kingdom

203 194

Gabon

Malaysia

ExxonMobil has made 13 discoveries (at the time of writing) in

Guyana, and will begin producing up to 120,000 barrels of oil per

day from the Liza Phase 1 development in early 2020. There is

potential for at least five floating production, storage and offloading

vessels in the Stabroek Block, producing more than 750,000

barrels of oil per day by 2025. Growth projections for 2020 and

2021 are 29.8% and 22.1%.

4. Who is the biggest trader in goods in Caricom?

In 2016 Trinidad and Tobago’s exports to Caricom were worth

US$734 million. They represented 32% of Caricom’s intra-regional exports and 10% of T&T’s global exports. Trade in

services also forms a significant part of Trinidad and Tobago’s trade with the region.

5. How developed is agricultural trade between Caricom members?

Agricultural imports from other member states are only 16.6% of Caricom’s total global agro-imports. Intra-Caricom

trade in agriculture is moderately diversified. Trinidad and Tobago and St Vincent & the Grenadines are the top exporters

of agri-food products within Caricom, while Jamaica and T&T are the top destination markets. Trinidad and Tobago was

the largest source of Jamaica’s agro-imports (55%), while Guyana was the largest source of Trinidad and Tobago’s (36%).

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42 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt


Economic outlook

Economic outlook

Table 1: Real GDP growth projections for Latin America and the Caribbean (%)

2017 Est. 2018 2019 2020

Latin America and the Caribbean 1.3 1.1 2.0 2.5

Excluding Venzuela 1.9 1.7 2.3 2.7

South America 0.8 0.4 1.8 2.4

Excluding Venezuela 1.7 1.3 2.2 2.7

Central America, Panama

and the Dominican Republic

Caribbean

Latin America and the Caribbean

Economic activity in Latin America continues to increase, but at a slower rate

than anticipated. The weakening global economy and rising policy uncertainty

are contributing to the slowdown in Latin America’s growth momentum. Overall,

the region is still expected to advance by 2% in 2019 and 2.5% in 2020 (see

Table 1).

A tightening of global financial conditions

and lower commodity prices

Projections

brought on by United States-China

trade tensions is continuing to contribute

to the region’s slowdown. In

addition, monetary policy was tightened

in some economies to contain

inflationary pressures stemming partly

from currency depreciation, which

further dampened growth.

As the global economy slows, the

narrow window of opportunity to

complete regional reforms is closing.

The creation of debt and deficit

reduction mechanisms will need to

continue in several countries to ensure

debt sustainability and minimise the

adverse effects on economic activity

and poverty. These developments

should include the protection of infrastructure

for regional investment and

well-targeted social expenditure, while

cutting non-priority spending.

Economic activity in the Caribbean is still projected to pick up in 2019-20, due

to robust tourism from the US, reconstruction from the devastating hurricanes of

2017 in some tourism-dependent countries, and higher commodity production

in some commodity exporters (see Figure 1).

4.0 3.7 3.8 4.0

Tourism dependent 1.1 1.4 1.8 2.4

Commodity exporters -1.3 1.5 1.6 5.5

Latin America

Argentina 2.9 -2.8 -1.7 2.7

Brazil 1.1 1.3 2.5 2.2

Chile 1.5 4.0 3.4 3.3

Colombia 1.8 2.6 3.3 3.6

Mexico 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.2

Peru 2.5 3.8 3.8 4.1

Source: Latin America and the Caribbean in 2019: A Moderate Expansion, Werner, Alejandro, IMF Blog, 25 Jan. 2019

Figure 1: Real GDP growth, year-over-year (% changes)

4

3

2

1

0

-1

World

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook database.

Latin America

and the Caribbean

EU blacklists Caribbean countries

In December 2017, the European Union

(EU) published its first blacklist of tax

havens, in an attempt to foster good

global tax governance. It contained 17

countries; updated in March 2019, it

now contains 15 countries. EU member

states accumulated over 12.5 trillion in

government debt, or 82% of the EU’s

GDP, whilst EU-blacklisted countries on

average carry government debt at 61.3%

Economic activity in the

Caribbean is still projected

to pick up in 2019-20, due

to robust tourism from the

US, reconstruction from the

devastating hurricanes of 2017

in some tourism-dependent

countries, and higher

commodity production in some

commodity exporters

of GDP – 20% lower than the projected EU average, despite the EU having

higher than average corporate tax rates.

The list includes Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, and Dominica. They

join Trinidad and Tobago and the US Virgin Islands, which were already on

the blacklist. “The blacklist of tax havens has proven a true success, with many

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44 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt


Economic outlook

countries having changed their laws and tax systems to

comply with international standards,” the EU said. Over

the course of 2018, the commission assessed 92 countries

based on three criteria: tax transparency, good governance,

and real economic activity, as well as one indicator, the

existence of a zero corporate tax rate.

The domestic landscape

“Local businesses will continue to benefit from the dutyfree

export of goods and the preferential treatment of

services exports to the United Kingdom,” said Trinidad and

Tobago’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Senator Paula

Gopee-Scoon, as she announced her country’s decision

to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement between

CARIFORUM and the United Kingdom (CARIFORUM-UK

EPA).

Global outlook

Global manufacturing activity and trade showed continued

signs of weakness at the start of 2019; in contrast, activity

in the services sector has been resilient. Some emerging

markets and developing economies are currently facing

negative conditions that are hindering growth, while

others are benefiting from the easing of some external

financing conditions.

United States

Companies within the US added 196,000 jobs in March

2019, marking a significant rebound from poor growth in

February. Earnings data showed that the annual rate of

wage increases slowed to 3.2% in March. The healthcare

sector saw jobs rise, but the retail and manufacturing

sectors both saw declines.

Even though the US experienced employment growth,

it can be seen as a mixed report since 6,000 jobs were

lost in manufacturing, the first decline in the sector since

July 2017.

Table 2: Employment in the United States, 2019

Jobs created

February 33,000 3.4%

March 196,000 3.2%

Wage change

US–China trade update

The US accused China of stealing intellectual property

from American firms by transferring American technology

to China. Washington wants Beijing to make changes

to its economic policies, which it says unfairly favour

domestic companies through subsidies and other support

mechanisms. It also wants China to buy more US goods to

rein in a lofty trade deficit.

In April, US President Donald Trump said the US had

achieved agreement on some of the toughest points in

trade talks with China; if the deal is finalised, a summit

will be hosted with China’s President, Xi Jinping. Failure

to achieve a deal may see the US more than double the

10% tariffs on US$200bn (£153bn) of Chinese goods and

impose fresh tariffs.

Rest of the world - FDI

According to FDI Intelligence, countries of the Asia-

Pacific region are the leading destination for greenfield

FDI (where a parent company builds its operations in a

foreign country) in renewable energy, while the US is

the top country, Dubai the top city, and Germany the top

source of investment.

Business lines dedicated to the development of energy

production from renewable sources, such as Enel Green

Power (Enel Group) and Canadian Solar, were the most

active investors with 27 FDI projects each, followed by

Canada’s SkyPower and Spain’s Acciona Energy.

Additional reference

“Latin America and the Caribbean in 2019: A Moderate Expansion.” Werner,

Alejandro, IMF Blog, 25 Jan. 2019. blogs.imf.org/2019/01/25/latin-americaand-the-caribbean-in-2019-a-moderate-expansion/

Dukharan, Marla. “Marla Dukharan Caribbean Economist: March 2019.”

Marla Dukharan and GNM Group LLC, Mar. 2019. marladukharan.com/wpcontent/uploads/2019/03/2019-03-Caribbean-Monthly-Report-MD.pdf.

“T&T to Sign Trade Agreement with the United Kingdom.” Trinidad and

Tobago Government News, 2019. www.news.gov.tt/content/tt-sign-tradeagreement-united-kingdom#.XKX1ThH_rIU.

“Global Monthly.” World Bank, Microeconomics, Trade and Investment, Mar.

2019. pubdocs.worldbank.org/en/482391553867433998/Global-Monthly-

Mar19.pdf.

“US Jobs Rebound but Wage Growth Slows.” BBC News, 5 Apr. 2019. www.

bbc.com/news/business-47822492.

“Fair Taxation: EU Updates List of Non-Cooperative Tax Jurisdictions.”

European Commission press release, 12 Mar. 2019. europa.eu/rapid/pressrelease_IP-19-1606_en.htm.

“US and China Edge Closer to 'Epic' Trade Deal, Says Trump.” BBC News, 5 Apr.

2019. www.bbc.com/news/business-47729803.

Intelligence, FDi. “FDI Renewable Energy Investments of the Year 2019 – the

Winners.” Rankings – FDiIntelligence.com, 11 Feb. 2019. www.fdiintelligence.

com/Rankings/fDi-Renewable-Energy-Investments-of-the-Year-2019-thewinners.

Guarascio, Francesco. “EU Adds UAE, Bermuda to Expanded Tax Haven

Blacklist.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 12 Mar. 2019. www.reuters.com/

article/us-eu-tax-blacklist/eu-adds-uae-bermuda-to-expanded-tax-havenblacklist-idUSKBN1QT1Q9.

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JUNE 2019 45


Energy update

Energy update

Local crude oil and natural gas production and usage

➤ Figure 1 shows that apart from the

ownership of the companies, the top three

oil producers have remained unchanged

from Q4 2017 to Q4 2018. It is important to

note that during Q4 of 2018, the domestic

oil refinery was closed, leading to oil

imports being halted for that time period;

this is shown in Figure 2.

Fig. 1: Top oil producers (avg. bopd)

20,203

11,730 11,313

14,810

10,094

9,789

Q4

2017

Trinmar

Petrotrin

Perenco

Q4

2018

HPCL (offshore)

HPCL (land)

Perenco

Fig. 2: Imports vs exports of crude oil (barrels)

8,741,537

2,260,986

N/A

1,521,230

Q4

2017

Imports

Exports

Q4

2018

Imports

Exports

➤ As can be seen in Figure 1, when

comparing Q4 data from 2017 and 2018,

between the top three producers there

was an average decline in oil production

of approximately 20%. Over the same time

period there was a modest increase in

natural gas output of approximately 1.83%

(Figure 4). Figure 3 also shows that the LNG

sector continues to be the major user of

natural gas locally, accounting for almost

57% of total production.

Fig. 3: Natural gas utilisation by sector

Q4 2018 (avg. mmscf/d)

3,299

LNG

1,865

Ammonia

553

Methanol

499

Power

241

Refinery

43

Other

98

Fig. 4: Top local natural gas producers

Q4 (avg. mmscf/d)

2,115

Q4

2017 BPTT

2,002

Q4

2018 BPTT

517

EOG

680

Shell

423

BHP

429

EOG

Source: MEEI Consolidated Report 2017 & 2018

46 June 2019 chamber.org.tt


Energy update

A comparison of Q4 2017 and Q4 2018 production

and export levels for energy and downstream products

Q4 2017

Q4 2018

➤ A comparison between Q4 2017 and

Q4 2018 shows that monthly natural gas

production levels improved for the

month of October; following which they

maintained slightly decreased levels for

the remainder of the quarter

➤ With the exception of methanol,

downstream products on average show

decreases in production levels in Q3 2018

Thousands

5

5

4

4

3

3

2

2

1

1

0

Natural gas production (mmscf/d)

October November December

80

70

60

50

40

30

20

10

0

Crude oil condensate production (bopd)

October November December

Ammonia production (mega tonnes)

Ammonia exports (mega tonnes)

Thousands

460

450

440

430

420

410

500

450

400

350

400 250

390

200

380

150

370

100

360

350

50

340

0

October November December

300

October

November

December

Methanol production (mega tonnes)

Methanol exports (mega tonnes)

500

600

Thousands

400

300

200

100

500

400

300

200

100

0 0

October November December

October

November

December

➤ Urea production was halted from

28 September 2018 to 14 November

2018 in order to conduct a plant

turnaround (i.e. planned maintenance).

Thousands

Urea production (mega tonnes)

70

90

60

80

70

50

60

40

50

30

40

20

30

20

10

10

0 0

October November December

Urea exports (mega tonnes)

October November December

Source: MEEI Consolidated Report 2017 & 2018

chamber.org.tt

June 2019

47


The Chamber and its Members

Welcome,

new members!

The Chamber extends a warm welcome to companies and individuals who have become members in recent months

3 Stone Research & Consulting Limited

770-4500

christian@3stone.com

Allan Clovis

688-1884

allanclovis1@gmail.com

Ian Davis

688-1912

keycontractorsltd@gmail.com

John Charles

794-5281

johncharles.ttjec@gmail.com

ASSOCIATE MEMBERS

Andrew Bisnath

andrewbisnath@hotmail.com

Sian Cuffy-Young

sian.young@sielenvironmental.com

Avion Hercules

787-0302

avionh@gmail.com

Bertil Taylor

686-7957

info@alibaba-tours.com

Ken Jones

639-5511

ken.jones@jonesmotorstt.com

Keron Cowan

682-6236

keronc@hotmail.com

Sparkle Charles

spaklinggoldchocolates@gmail.com

Stacy Seeterram

stacy.harricharan@gmail.com

Brendon Gray

660-7483

anthony.b.gray@gmail.com

Michael Wheeler

631-7246

wheelersprinklers@gmail.com

Claude Taylor

684-5547

claudgrey@gmail.com

Petronella Hazzard

799-0661

petronellahaz@gmail.com

Darrel De Coteau

787-0476

darreldec@gmail.com

Phillip Charles

290-9064

pcelectric@live.com

Derek De Gannes

639-3077

derek.degannes@gafarrell.com

Premium Cigars Limited

683-3022

support@premiumcigarstt.com

Estuary PR Limited

The Bass House,

11 Warren Street, Woodbrook

367-5295

liza@estuaryPR.com

Rose Ramdehol Auto Sales Limited

115 Woodford Street,

Newtown, Port of Spain

392-1315

herotrinidadandtobago@gmail.com

COURTESY SIMONE ANDREWS

48 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt


chamber.org.tt/CONTACT-MAGAZINE March 2019

49


FROM THE HOUSE OF ANGOSTURA

top ten BEST SELLING RUM

top TEN trending RUM

2019

as voted by the world’s best bars

2019

as voted by the world’s best bars

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