Contact Vol19 No2 June2019

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Vol.19 No.2 – June 2019<br />

The Voice of Business in Trinidad & Tobago<br />

CSME<br />

Are we getting it right?

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Vol.19 No.2 – June 2019<br />

Contents<br />

Editor’s note 7<br />

Natalie Dookie introduces this issue of CONTACT<br />

Special Section<br />

CSME: Are we getting it right?<br />

On the cover:<br />

Mia Mottley, the Barbados Prime<br />

Minister, has the lead responsibility<br />

for the CSME (Caricom<br />

Single Market and Economy).<br />

Photo courtesy: Prime Minister’s<br />

Office, Barbados<br />

Small economies, big plans 8<br />

The CSME (Caricom Single Market and Economy) was<br />

launched with much optimism 30 years ago, but has<br />

disappointed many. Colin Soo Ping Chow examines the<br />

background<br />

Can private sector energy help push<br />

CSME forward? 14<br />

Renatta Mohammed looks at how Barbados Prime Minister<br />

Mia Mottley hopes to give CSME new energy<br />

Companies welcome CSME movement 19<br />

Karibbean Flavours and Guardian Life share their<br />

CSME experiences with Sasha Murray<br />

The voice of business: labour relations 22<br />

CONTACT talks to three business leaders about the industrial<br />

relations climate in Trinidad and Tobago and how it could be<br />

improved<br />

Are you ready for a natural disaster? 24<br />

Trinidad and Tobago is vulnerable to cyclones, earthquakes<br />

and floods, as well as other hazards. Ravindranath Goswami<br />

explains why businesses and their leaders need to be<br />

prepared<br />

Business profile: Angela Lee Loy 30<br />

Pat Ganase talks to one of Trinidad and Tobago’s most<br />

distinguished business leaders about her career and<br />

outlook, and about building her group of companies<br />

The Chamber’s growth<br />

and learning corner 35<br />

Three business leaders tell CONTACT what they have<br />

been reading as they seek continually to expand their horizons<br />

Innovation in business:<br />

meet the “agripreneurs” 36<br />

Jeanette Awai meets young entrepreneurs building innovative<br />

projects in the agriculture sector<br />

Five top facts about the Caricom market 41<br />

Test your knowledge about our regional market and its<br />

members with Sasha Murray<br />

Economic outlook 43<br />

The Chamber’s experts review the current global and regional<br />

situation and look ahead towards the rest of 2019<br />

Energy update 46<br />

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

Welcome to new members 48<br />

The Chamber extends a warm greeting to members who have<br />

recently joined<br />

4 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt

The voice of business in Trinidad & Tobago<br />

Published by<br />

The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce<br />

Columbus Circle, Westmoorings, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago<br />

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

Email: chamber@chamber.org.tt • Website: www.chamber.org.tt<br />

Tobago Division:<br />

ANSA McAL Building, Milford Road, Scarborough, Tobago<br />

Tel: (868) 639-2669 • Fax: (868) 639-2669<br />

Email: tobagochamber@chamber.org.tt<br />

Produced for the Chamber by<br />

MEP Publishers (Media & Editorial Projects Ltd)<br />

6 Prospect Avenue, Maraval, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago<br />

Tel: (868) 622-3821 • Fax: (868) 628-0639<br />

Email: info@meppublishers.com • Website: www.meppublishers.com<br />

Editor<br />

Online editor<br />

General manager<br />

Page layout & design<br />

Advertising<br />

Production<br />

Editorial assistants<br />

Natalie Dookie<br />

Caroline Taylor<br />

Halcyon Salazar<br />

Kriston Chen<br />

Evelyn Chung, Tracy Farrag,<br />

Mark-Jason Ramesar<br />

Jacqueline Smith<br />

Shelly-Ann Inniss,<br />

Kristine de Abreu<br />


Opinions expressed in <strong>Contact</strong> are those of the authors, and<br />

not necessarily of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry<br />

and Commerce or its partners or associates.<br />


CONTACT is published quarterly by the Trinidad and Tobago<br />

Chamber of Industry and Commerce (TTCIC). It is available online at<br />

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

©2019 TTCIC. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may<br />

be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher.<br />


6 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt

Editor’s note<br />

Editor’s note<br />

So why are we still discussing and<br />

not benefitting from full CSME<br />

implementation in 2019? In this issue of<br />

CONTACT, we explore these concerns and<br />

more in CSME: Getting it right!<br />

Even the world’s largest trading bloc wants the Caribbean to get to work<br />

on advancing the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME). Having<br />

invested several millions over the past decade, to support the development of<br />

CSME and the implementation of the European Partnership Agreement, the<br />

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

the region want the same.<br />

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

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

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

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

Established three decades ago in 1989, the CSME was a strategic project<br />

intended to deepen regional integration and better respond to the challenges<br />

and opportunities presented by globalisation. Not all 15 Caricom member<br />

states are part of the CSME. Montserrat requires entrustment (approval) from<br />

the United Kingdom. The Bahamas has stated its intention not to get on board.<br />

Haiti is a partial participant, with full integration carded for 2020 (when it<br />

will add another 11 million consumers to the market).<br />

So why are we still discussing, and not benefitting from full CSME implementation<br />

in 2019? Is it lack of political will? Not enough strong decisive<br />

leadership in the region? In this issue of CONTACT, we explore these concerns<br />

and more in CSME: Are we getting it right?<br />

We examine whether small economies can realise big plans in the current<br />

geopolitical and economic climate of the region. We look at the Barbados<br />

Prime Minister's plans and priorities for CSME; and then consider the realworld<br />

CSME experiences of Karibbean Flavours and Guardian Life.<br />

In this issue of CONTACT, we also introduce several new features and<br />

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

also hear from key business leaders on the labour relations climate in Trinidad<br />

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

feature with “Angela Lee Loy: breaking business barriers”. Our second new<br />

feature, “Innovation in business”, examines Caribbean Cure and Epilimnion<br />

Aquaculture agri-businesses. As we prepare for the next rainy season, consider<br />

if your business is ready for a natural disaster.<br />

We close off our new content with “The Chamber’s Learning and Growth<br />

Corner” – want to improve the way you do business? Check out what business<br />

leaders are reading. Finally, the Chamber examines economic prospects for<br />

the region, and delves more closely into the local energy sector’s performance.<br />

It’s always a privilege to welcome new members of the Chamber and of<br />

course, new readers to CONTACT. We look forward to your feedback on this<br />

packed issue: let us know what you think of the new content.<br />

Natalie Dookie, Editor<br />

chamber.org.tt<br />

JUNE 2019 7


CSME: Are we getting it right?<br />

Small economies, big plans<br />

Established 30 years ago with lofty ideals, the intention of the Caricom<br />

Single Market and Economy (CSME) was to provide more and better<br />

opportunities for employment, trade and investment. What have we<br />

achieved over the past three decades? How can we get CSME right, in<br />

order to advance the region’s growth and development?<br />

by Colin Soo Ping Chow<br />

Executive Chairman, EY Caribbean<br />

When the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME)<br />

was established in 1989, the vision was clear: we would<br />

create a single, regional economic zone, not unlike the<br />

European Union (EU), which would be an attractive<br />

destination for business and foreign investment. This<br />

would be facilitated by the free movement of labour, and<br />

supported by laws and regulations designed to grow intra-<br />

Caribbean and extra-regional trade.<br />

Thirty years have since passed, and we are nominally<br />

closer to this goal.<br />

several problems including potential defaults on foreign<br />

loans as foreign exchange reserves declined precipitously.<br />

To address these challenges, Barbados increased its debt,<br />

maintained its fixed exchange rate, and continued its<br />

expansionist policies.<br />

Guyana, on the other hand, in trying to deal with<br />

its own difficulties, adopted a strategy which involved<br />

the nationalisation of major enterprises across a wide<br />

spectrum. This strategy eventually failed, and the country’s<br />

economy fell into recession.<br />

The background<br />

In the 1990s, immediately after the formation of the CSME,<br />

four of the larger Caricom member states – Trinidad and<br />

Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica and Guyana – simultaneously<br />

encountered serious economic difficulties.<br />

Dr Alvin Hilaire, then a<br />

senior economist with the International<br />

Monetary Fund, wrote<br />

an article reviewing the countries’<br />

strategies for economic stabilisation.<br />

Trinidad and Tobago and<br />

Jamaica both sought to address their difficulties with a<br />

range of remedial actions including debt reprofiling, major<br />

currency devaluations, public expenditure cuts, rationalisation<br />

of state assets, and intervention in the financial services<br />

sector. These measures came at a huge cost to their<br />

respective economies.<br />

Barbados’s major sectors – tourism, sugar and<br />

manufacturing – were all declining, and the country faced<br />

On reflection, one can argue that the<br />

ambitions set out in the 1989 Grand<br />

Anse Declaration (for the advancement<br />

of the integration movement) were<br />

always going to be difficult, though not<br />

impossible, to achieve<br />

Impact of economic challenges<br />

On reflection, one can argue that the ambitions set out in<br />

the 1989 Grand Anse Declaration (for the advancement<br />

of the integration movement) were always going to be<br />

difficult, though not impossible, to<br />

achieve. Today, by and large, the<br />

CSME objectives have not been<br />

met.<br />

While some commentators<br />

can justifiably criticise Caribbean<br />

governments for their lack of execution,<br />

one view is that it would<br />

have been incredibly difficult to achieve common market<br />

status while the larger economies in the trade zone<br />

were seriously afflicted by economic challenges. Out of<br />

necessity, these governments became internally focused on<br />

their individual economic priorities. It is arguable, then,<br />

that the interests of the wider group of member states<br />

would not have been aligned regionally – a pre-requisite<br />

for achievement of the CSME goals.<br />

chamber.org.tt<br />

JUNE 2019 9

CSME: Are we getting it right?<br />

Today, almost three decades since the<br />

formation of the CSME, many Caricom<br />

member countries are still experiencing<br />

challenging economic circumstances<br />

So what does the future hold<br />

for small economies in a world<br />

experiencing trade wars, Brexit, and<br />

crisis in our neighbour Venezuela?<br />

The return of sustainable growth in 2000 and beyond was then impeded by the<br />

2009 global financial crisis. This affected most of the world’s more developed<br />

countries, and ultimately led to long periods of economic decline in Caribbean<br />

countries highly dependent on the offshore sector, and other countries vulnerable<br />

to external shocks.<br />

Today, almost three decades since the formation of the CSME, many Caricom<br />

member countries are still experiencing challenging economic circumstances.<br />

This has been exacerbated in no small measure by the external pressures exerted<br />

by the EU and the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development in<br />

their efforts to regulate the financial systems of these countries. These issues<br />

and other internal pressures have resulted in the Caribbean states, with few<br />

exceptions, being unable to attract adequate levels of foreign direct investment;<br />

and economic growth is anemic at best.<br />

The region's challenge<br />

So what does the future hold for small economies in a world experiencing<br />

trade wars, Brexit, and crisis in our neighbour Venezuela? How do small<br />

nations realise big plans in a world fraught with major geopolitical events?<br />

How will Caricom deal with these challenges, which have potentially disastrous<br />

consequences for regional economies?<br />

These are challenges that affect citizens in all our countries; they require<br />

collaboration between businesses and governments in the region; they can only<br />

be addressed by doing things differently – by innovating. No longer can the<br />

Caribbean ignore the impact of these global trends and the potential debilitating<br />

effects on our economies.<br />

As 2020 approaches and we continue to look to the future, it is imperative<br />

that our countries, despite lacking scale, develop bigger, bolder plans if we are<br />

not to be left behind. There is a unique opportunity for regional governments<br />

to work with the private sector to jump-start the realisation of the CSME vision.<br />

First, we need to transform the public sector, the way we do business, and<br />

put the needs of our citizens at the forefront.<br />

Globally, transformation is driven by four mega-trends currently disrupting<br />

the way we do business and how we compete:<br />

• Technology: The rapid evolution of technology is enabling far-reaching<br />

changes in society, and agile responses to these changes are being<br />

demanded of business and government at a faster rate than ever before.<br />

• Transparency: The demand for increased transparency in business and<br />

government is transforming how we communicate to increase public and<br />

private stakeholder engagement.<br />

• Talent: The evolution of our talent needs will demand fundamental<br />

changes in our education systems as governments and business seek to<br />

develop a technologically-based workforce that can drive change and<br />

competitiveness for business and government.<br />

• Trade: The business and politics of global trade are being reshaped, and<br />

government and business need to embrace new ways of helping, not<br />

hindering, regional and international trade.<br />

These four T’s, together with climate change and aging demographics, are<br />

serious issues which governments in small, fragmented markets can face with<br />

a collaborative effort across borders and across sectors.<br />

10 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt

CSME: Are we getting it right?<br />

Caricom and CSME member states, 2019<br />

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

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

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

The Bahamas is not a participant.<br />

Key facts on CSME:<br />

What is the CSME?<br />

The CSME is a single large economic<br />

space, created through the removal<br />

of restrictions and resulting in the free<br />

movement of:<br />

• Goods<br />

• Services<br />

• Labour/Skills<br />

• Capital<br />

• Technology<br />

6 million<br />

MARKET<br />

SIZE (Current)<br />

+11 million<br />

With Haiti in 2020<br />

Key elements of CSME are:<br />

1. Provision for the free movement<br />

of goods, services and people<br />

2. Provision for the free movement<br />

of capital: through convertibility<br />

of currencies (or a common currency)<br />

and an integrated capital<br />

market, such as a regional stock<br />

exchange<br />

3. A Common External Tariff and<br />

free circulation of goods imported<br />

from extra-regional sources<br />

4. The establishment of a common<br />

trade and economic policy<br />

5. Right of establishment of<br />

Caricom-owned businesses in any<br />

member state without restrictions<br />

6. Harmonisation of laws<br />

Milestones<br />

• The decision was taken in 1989<br />

to establish the CSME in order to<br />

deepen the integration movement.<br />

• On 1 January, 2006, the Single<br />

Market component of the CSME<br />

came into being, initially involving<br />

Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica,<br />

Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.<br />

The Caricom passport:<br />

• Heads of Government agreed to the<br />

issuance of a Caricom passport by<br />

member states as a defining symbol<br />

of regionalism.<br />

• All twelve independent member<br />

states participating in the CSME<br />

now issue the Caricom passport.<br />

Source: Natalie Dookie, Editor, CONTACT<br />

chamber.org.tt<br />

JUNE 2019 11

12 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt

CSME: Are we getting it right?<br />

To realise the CSME vision, business<br />

and government must collectively<br />

embrace digital transformation as<br />

an imperative, not an option<br />

Colin Soo Ping Chow<br />

Executive Chairman, EY Caribbean<br />

The CSME will only accomplish<br />

its ambitious goals if businesses,<br />

governments and civil society are<br />

prepared to collaborate, reinvent<br />

themselves, and build a single<br />

market and economy that is fit for<br />

the transformative age. That’s how<br />

we can get it right<br />

Begin the journey now<br />

To realise the CSME vision, business and government must collectively embrace<br />

digital transformation as an imperative, not an option. This involves much more<br />

than just acquiring new technology. It requires an overhaul of organisational<br />

structures, governance, work processes, culture, and – most importantly –<br />

mindset. Without this new mindset, real progress will remain difficult to achieve.<br />

There is sufficient empirical evidence to support the proposition that<br />

governments which effectively harness the power of digital transformation can<br />

create better outcomes for citizens.<br />

The benefits of public investment in technology can be seen in the example<br />

of Estonia. One of the smallest countries in Europe, with a population of<br />

1.3 million, Estonia only gained independence in 1991. Since then, it has<br />

transformed itself, through innovation in the public sector and investment<br />

in technology, from a country with little public infrastructure to a leader in<br />

e-government.<br />

It is estimated that 99% of all instances where Estonian citizens interact with<br />

their government are through digital technology. E-government can provide<br />

services more effectively and efficiently, find new solutions to policy challenges,<br />

commercialise some public services, and develop new sources of revenue.<br />

Like Estonia, CSME investment in digital transformation has the potential<br />

to transform the entire region.<br />

The bottom line<br />

In summary, the Caribbean cannot continue to inch forward step by step and<br />

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

goals if businesses, governments and civil society are prepared to collaborate,<br />

reinvent themselves, and build a single market and economy that is fit for the<br />

transformative age. That’s how we can get it right.<br />

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

to ask some uncomfortable questions. Are we motivated to take the necessary<br />

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

individual castles? Can the Caribbean emerge stronger and more unified despite<br />

differences in size, sectors, opportunities and challenges?<br />

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

stone. They need to be supported by a dynamic organisational structure that is<br />

autonomous, well-funded, and backed by governments which recognise that,<br />

in a rapidly-evolving environment, the economic models of yesterday may not<br />

be relevant tomorrow.<br />

The fourth industrial revolution has arrived. The time to begin the journey<br />

is now.<br />

chamber.org.tt<br />

JUNE 2019 13

CSME: Are we getting it right?<br />

Can private sector energy<br />

help to push CSME forward?<br />

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley has promised to unlock the growth<br />

potential of the CSME. The business community has pointed to a disconnect<br />

between intent and reality. How can the private sector help with the<br />

advancement of CSME?<br />

by Renatta Mohammed<br />

Regional Business Development Consultant,<br />

iSolutions Caribbean<br />

Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados<br />

with lead responsibility for the Caricom<br />

Single Market and Economy (CSME), is<br />

committed to resuscitating the regional integrated<br />

development strategy – and in a historic move, has<br />

invited the private sector and labour to help do so.<br />

Caricom’s Secretary General and Heads of Government<br />

have openly conceded that the CSME has<br />

been sluggish in delivering on its original intent.<br />

Mottley agrees and is acting with urgency.<br />

“Our only way out is to turn this region into<br />

an economic power of note within the Americas.<br />

It cannot happen with individual countries trying<br />

to put one plus one, one by one by one. But if we<br />

come together, in the context of a strong single<br />

economy and a strong single market, all of a sudden<br />

it looks different,” she has stated. “That battle<br />

towards dominance requires a Usain Bolt approach,<br />

not a Carnival-like (chip) approach.”<br />

Speaking at the 14th regional Investments<br />

and Capital Markets Conference in Jamaica at the<br />

start of 2019, Mottley reiterated that the decision<br />

to include stakeholders such as labour, the media,<br />

youth and the private sector, is intended to “unlock<br />

growth within the region”.<br />

“Our political leadership must facilitate and shepherd,<br />

not control and stifle,” she declared in her<br />

maiden address. “What is most needed, I am convinced,<br />

is to give our people the scope to express<br />

their natural inclination to get things to a conclusion<br />

in ways that are productive and beneficial to<br />

the region as a whole. Our people should not have<br />

to jump through hoops to make this happen.”<br />


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

Unity is essential<br />

But what’s in it for the individual markets, the private<br />

sector and the people of the Caribbean? The<br />

initial vision cites the main benefits as: “more and<br />

better opportunities to produce and sell goods and<br />

services and to attract investment; greater economies<br />

of scale and increased competitiveness”. The<br />

business community has publicly down-cried the<br />

disjoint between intent and reality, but acknowledges<br />

that the time is right to re-visit the CSME,<br />

arguing that if we are to thrive within a changing<br />

global economic climate, we must move collectively.<br />

This climate has contributed to Mottley’s sense<br />

of purpose.<br />

The survival of small states such as ours, she has<br />

said, depends on unity, “not just economically but<br />

in the world of diplomacy”. More than ever, “we<br />

14 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt

CSME: Are we getting it right?<br />


••<br />

Access to a larger market of consumers<br />

••<br />

Strengthened competitiveness<br />

••<br />

Creation of regional companies<br />

••<br />

Harmonised standards of production<br />

••<br />

Increased economies of scale<br />




CSME<br />

••<br />

Enhanced investment opportunities<br />

••<br />

Common voice in in<br />

international trade negotiations<br />

••<br />

Increased inflows of new capital, entrepreneurs and technology<br />

••<br />

Added intra-regional cooperation on human and social development<br />

••<br />

Improved services sector<br />

••<br />

Wider choice of goods and services<br />

••<br />

Lower consumer prices<br />

••<br />

Increased opportunities to invest via<br />

direct stock ownership or mutual<br />

fund investments<br />

• Greater employment, travel<br />

and study opportunities<br />

need to stay together”, using Caricom as the vehicle<br />

to allow regional countries to take “principled<br />

decisions”. To ensure that CSME remains a priority<br />

among the various national goals within the region,<br />

Mottley has moved to convene prime ministerial<br />

sub-committee meetings on a quarterly basis with<br />

annual stakeholder consultations; and, coming out<br />

of the December 2018 meeting in Trinidad, the St<br />

Anns Declaration was crafted.<br />

This newest manifesto includes an amendment<br />

to allow representatives of the private sector and<br />

the Caribbean Congress of Labour to participate<br />

in Caricom Heads of Government meetings, giving<br />

both business and labour a voice at the head<br />

table. It also welcomes Haiti’s commitment to full<br />

integration carded for 2020, which will add another<br />

11 million consumers to the<br />

market. The St Anns Declaration<br />

speaks to the challenges<br />

of our times and reflects<br />

Mottley’s leadership style of<br />

openness and inclusion.<br />

Frustration<br />

But already there are hints of<br />

frustration. After a March 2019 summit in St Kitts,<br />

Mottley said she found it difficult to face the media<br />

and inform the region “that the contingent rights,<br />

the protocol that was signed in July, still cannot<br />

The Caricom Secretariat building, Georgetown, Guyana<br />

The business community has publicly<br />

down-cried the disjoint between intent<br />

and reality, but acknowledges that<br />

the time is right to re-visit the CSME,<br />

arguing that if we are to thrive within a<br />

changing global economic climate, we<br />

must move collectively<br />

be provisionally applied, because we do not have<br />

enough member states who have signed; and that,<br />

in spite of the declaration in Montego Bay [July<br />

2018], we are not in a position to guarantee, in accordance<br />

with the treaty . . .<br />

a framework for dependents<br />

and spouses.”<br />

She also spoke of being<br />

“a bit embarrassed” that,<br />

having taken decisions on<br />

the movement of agricultural<br />

workers and security<br />

guards during the December<br />

2018 meeting in Trinidad, the tail appeared to be<br />

wagging the dog. As an example, she suggested<br />

that the Council for Human and Social Development<br />

appeared to be “wagging” the Caricom lead-<br />


chamber.org.tt<br />

JUNE 2019 15

CSME: Are we getting it right?<br />


Key agreements — Heads of Government of the Caribbean<br />

Community (Caricom), meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad,<br />

3-4 December, 2018:<br />

••<br />

Agreed on a formalised, structured mechanism<br />

to facilitate dialogue between the Councils of the<br />

Community and the private sector and labour<br />


••<br />

Agreed to amend the Treaty to include as Associate<br />

Institutions representative bodies of private sector and<br />

labour<br />

••<br />

Agreed that that those Member States so willing would<br />

move towards full free movement within the next three<br />

years<br />

••<br />

Mandated that steps be taken to deepen cooperation<br />

and collaboration between the Secretariats of Caricom<br />

and the OECS to avoid duplication and maximise the<br />

use of scarce resources<br />

••<br />

Agreed to reinforce the operation of security<br />

mechanisms to ensure the integrity of the regime<br />

allowing the free movement of Caricom nationals<br />

••<br />

Agreed to examine the re-introduction of the single<br />

domestic space for passengers in the region<br />

••<br />

Agreed to work towards having a single security check<br />

for direct transit passengers on multi-stop intra-<br />

Community flights<br />

••<br />

Agreed to include agricultural workers, beauty<br />

service practitioners, barbers and security guards in<br />

the agreed categories of skilled nationals who are<br />

entitled to move freely and seek employment within the<br />

Community<br />

••<br />

Reiterated that a skills certificate issued by one<br />

Member State would be recognised by all Member<br />

States<br />

••<br />

Agreed to complete legislative and other arrangements<br />

in all Member States for all categories of free<br />

movement of skilled persons<br />

••<br />

Agreed to finalise the regime that permits citizens<br />

and companies of the Community to participate in the<br />

public procurement processes in Member States by<br />

2019<br />

••<br />

Agreed to take all necessary steps to allow for mutual<br />

recognition of companies incorporated in a Caricom<br />

Member State<br />

••<br />

Welcomed Haiti’s commitment to full integration into<br />

the CSME by 2020<br />

••<br />

Appointed Professor Avinash Persaud to lead a<br />

restructured Commission on the Economy to advise<br />

Member States on a growth agenda for the Community.<br />

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

communications/press-releases/st-anns-declaration-on-csme<br />

Caricom Heads of Government with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel in Jamaica<br />

ers, since it was yet to reach a consensus on who is an<br />

agricultural worker in the Caribbean.<br />

“It has to do with the fundamental governance of this<br />

institution because we need to be dealing with the strategic<br />

issues here – and not having to now remove the<br />

cobweb,” she warned. But cobweb removal seems to be<br />

a necessary early step if this resurgence of energy is to<br />

amount to tangible achievements.<br />

The Heads of Government have proposed<br />

that, while the CSME must remain at the<br />

heart of regional integration, it must move<br />

beyond functional cooperation – and regional<br />

governments and the private sector are<br />

being asked to share that vision<br />

“Major policy decisions and the adoption of legal instruments<br />

take much too long to be negotiated. We must<br />

do more and do it more quickly,” Caricom’s Secretary<br />

General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, has been quoted<br />

as saying, even as he itemised accomplishments of the<br />

CSME over the last 30 years.<br />

Mottley has also cited “psychological impediments<br />

and the closed mindsets in some quarters of officialdom”<br />

as some of the reasons for the under-achievement of<br />

Mottley says that, the survival of small states<br />

such as ours, depends on unity, “not just<br />

economically but in the world of diplomacy”.<br />

More than ever, “we need to stay together”,<br />

using Caricom as the vehicle to allow regional<br />

countries to take “principled decisions”<br />

the CSME. She explained that because the practical<br />

implications of decisions are sometimes not worked<br />

out beforehand, and the recording of decisions is often<br />

not clear and precise, “these [decisions] fall victim to<br />

bureaucratic inertia or resistance from those who did not<br />

16 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt

CSME: Are we getting it right?<br />


Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley at the Intersessional Meeting of Caricom Heads of<br />

Government in St Kitts<br />

participate meaningfully in their design or have not<br />

been fully enlightened as to their positive purpose.”<br />

Share the vision<br />

The Heads have proposed that, while the CSME must<br />

remain at the heart of regional integration, it must<br />

move beyond functional cooperation – and regional<br />

governments and the private sector are being asked to<br />

share that vision. Mottley also acknowledges the need<br />

for the regional Heads to continue self-analysis and<br />

introspection.<br />

She has pointed to the lack of movement on regional<br />

travel by air and sea – and is now treating that<br />

as a matter of priority. She has noted that there are<br />

elements to the free movement of people that still need<br />

to be addressed. She has announced that Barbados will<br />

be removing the visa restrictions for Haiti, a signatory<br />

to the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. At every given<br />

opportunity, Mottley has called for better communication<br />

and sharing of information across the region.<br />

The original list of sectors to focus on under the<br />

CSME was long. Some goals have been achieved –<br />

but not enough to be felt in any substantial way<br />

by the region’s business community and other key<br />

stakeholders. So Mottley has championed a new and<br />

narrower focus. Four key sectors for development<br />

have been identified – renewable energy, agriculture<br />

and food security, information and communication<br />

technology, and maritime and air transport.<br />

“The bottom line is that our economies are not necessarily<br />

capable of surviving on their own in this difficult<br />

and turbulent world . . . we need a greater level<br />

of population to drive economic growth, and smarter,<br />

seamless decisions to be able to fuel that economic<br />

growth,” Mottley said.<br />

All eyes are optimistically upon the CSME’s newest<br />

instigator, plot twists and all.<br />


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

encourages foreign direct investment and provides the same rights, privileges, and protection to local and foreign<br />

companies.<br />

<br />

11 million<br />

Population<br />

Port-au-Prince<br />

Capital<br />

$766 US<br />

GDP per capita<br />

••<br />

Most Haitian businesspeople speak English<br />

••<br />

Haiti has preferential access to major markets including<br />

Canada, the US, and the European Union<br />

••<br />

Four major international security-certified ports<br />

••<br />

Two international airports offer daily flights between Haiti<br />

and the US<br />

••<br />

There are few government controls or subsidies<br />

••<br />

The transport, telecommunications and oil sectors attract<br />

most of the investors. More recently, construction, textiles,<br />

and the manufacture of automotive components have also<br />

attracted foreign investment<br />

••<br />

Weekly shipping service from Trinidad to Haiti<br />

••<br />

Level playing field for T&T exporters, as all countries face<br />

the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) rate.<br />

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

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

chamber.org.tt<br />

JUNE 2019 17

Services<br />

The human<br />

benefit of<br />

machine<br />

learning<br />

Visit accaglobal.com/digital<br />


18 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt

Companies welcome<br />

CSME movement<br />

by Sasha Murray<br />

Freelance writer<br />

CSME: Are we getting it right?<br />

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

human and financial resources, its potential remains mostly untapped. Two Trinidad-based<br />

firms, Karibbean Flavours and Guardian Life, explain the impact that the CSME has been<br />

having on their regional businesses<br />

The slow progress of CSME integration<br />

“has resulted in a decline in economic benefits<br />

and trade performance in the region when<br />

compared with the 1970s,” according to<br />

panellists at the annual general meeting<br />

(AGM) of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of<br />

Industry and Commerce. Held earlier this year<br />

in April, the theme of the AGM’s lunchtime<br />

discussion was the CSME.<br />

So the recommendation made by the<br />

Caricom Review Commission in its 2017 report<br />

– to amend the treaty governing Caricom to<br />

institutionalise the involvement of the private<br />

sector – is welcome. Barbados Prime Minister<br />

Mia Mottley, who has lead responsibility for<br />

the CSME within Caricom, has also made it<br />

clear that she accepts the change: the private<br />

sector will have an integral part to play.<br />

In the business world, the hope is that this enhanced<br />

role will finally result in the full integration of the single<br />

market and economy. Better access to wider markets, a<br />

larger consumer base, increased economies of scale,<br />

enhanced investment opportunities, and increased<br />

competitiveness, are all keenly anticipated.<br />

To underline the importance of accelerating CSME’s<br />

evolution, let’s examine the experience of two Trinidad<br />

and Tobago-based companies: RHS Marketing Limited’s<br />

Karibbean Flavours brand, and Guardian Life of the<br />

Caribbean Limited.<br />

Karibbean Flavours: CSME helped grow our intraand<br />

extra-regional imports<br />

Since 1996, Ravi Sankar, founder of RHS Marketing<br />

Limited, has been manufacturing and distributing a<br />

wide range of premium seasonings, spices, condiments,<br />

drinks, essences and browning products under the<br />

Karibbean Flavours brand. Many of the products have<br />

their roots in the region’s exotic cuisine and reflect a combination<br />

of cultures and tastes.<br />

The CSME has worked well for his company, Sankar<br />

says, helping it to grow from a local supplier to a regional<br />


exporter. Starting with a small shipment to Antigua,<br />

Karibbean Flavours now has a presence on store shelves in<br />

several Caricom countries, including Barbados, Dominica,<br />

Grenada, Guyana and Suriname.<br />

“Regional distributors found it economical to purchase<br />

from us under the CSME, as compared to the United States,<br />

because there were no taxes on imports from Trinidad and<br />

Tobago. Through the certifying body in Trinidad we were<br />

able to get Caricom certificates for all the products we<br />

produce, and this made it attractive for buyers.”<br />

“We’d like to see some real initiatives come<br />

out of CSME, that make the ease of doing<br />

business across the region better and that will<br />

ultimately benefit the populations as a whole”<br />

When supply is not available locally, Karibbean Flavours<br />

has also benefitted from duty-free access to ingredients<br />

such as pepper and thyme, sometimes at lower prices.<br />

The process is not without its challenges, however.<br />

Sankar explains that, when shipping products, he<br />

sometimes experiences difficulties in obtaining the relevant<br />

documents on time from customs and excise. The delays<br />

result in added costs for storage, among other things.<br />

chamber.org.tt<br />

JUNE 2019 19

CSME: Are we getting it right?<br />

Karibbean Flavours products<br />

can also be found beyond<br />

the Caribbean, in the United<br />

States, the United Kingdom<br />

and Canada. Sankar says that<br />

having a regional presence<br />

has helped the firm expand<br />

internationally. “With our<br />

brand well represented in<br />

Caricom, it is easier for diaspora<br />

and tourist consumers who<br />

reside in international markets<br />

to recognise it.”<br />

Customer Appreciation Day and 10th anniversary celebrations in Barbados<br />

Guardian Life: a fully implemented<br />

CSME benefits everyone<br />

Guardian Life is a dynamic insurance and financial<br />

institution which provides financial services across four<br />

major territories in the English and Dutch Caribbean,<br />

including Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and Barbados.<br />

Established in1980, with head offices in Westmoorings,<br />

Trinidad, Guardian Life is engaged in underwriting all<br />

classes of long-term individual and group life, health<br />

and pensions insurance business, as well as associated<br />

investment activities.<br />

“As a pan-Caribbean group, we<br />

are starting to see the impact<br />

of regional integration, where<br />

our customers’ behaviours<br />

are changing. For example, if<br />

customers from Jamaica have<br />

a policy in Trinidad, they want<br />

to know more about how we<br />

effect these transactions. So<br />

it’s really about having the<br />

framework in place, to allow<br />

the free movement of people<br />

and the free movement of business to grow, and have<br />

greater access to markets and greater convenience.” Pascal<br />

also notes that, even though “we all have very common<br />

backgrounds, there are multiple regulators with multiple<br />

financial standards to be dealt with.”<br />

While hoping that ongoing work will yield tangible<br />

CSME benefits for all, “we’d like to see some real initiatives<br />

come out of it, that make the ease of doing business<br />

across the region better and that will ultimately benefit<br />

the populations as a whole. Where we realise investment<br />

opportunities through expanded markets. This could only<br />

redound to everyone’s benefit in the long run: governments,<br />

policy holders, and the organisations in between.<br />


20 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt

Advertorial<br />

Export-Import Bank<br />

of Trinidad and Tobago<br />

The Export Import Bank of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (EXIMBANK) remains the<br />

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

was formerly the Trinidad and Tobago Export Credit Insurance Agency (EXCICO),<br />

which was established in 1973 by the Government to promote the export of goods<br />

and services. This allows regional buyers access to a wide range of manufactured<br />

goods on credit terms.<br />

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

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

a profitable, well managed, state owned financial institution working with local and regional financial institutions and<br />

pursuing a business philosophy of promoting selective and controlled expansion of the export sector.<br />

Products & Services<br />


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

EXIMBANK extends to an approved company to assist<br />

in the payment of inventory, raw materials, semi-finished<br />

or finished products. Once goods are received, the<br />

exporter can now prepare products for local sale or<br />

export. This facility is offered at competitive rates and<br />

is designed for trade transactions that are short-term<br />

and self-liquidated.<br />

The tenor is customised to the exporter’s needs and<br />

usually ranges from 30 to 270 days.<br />

FActoRINg ANd dIscouNtINg<br />

This facility provides short-term financing to exporting<br />

manufacturers, distributors and service providers.<br />

Businesses receive financing in the form of a loan<br />

between 85 and 95 per cent of the invoice value of<br />

export sales, which must be repaid from the assigned<br />

proceeds of payments from EXIMBANK’s approved<br />

buyers. This facility aims to bridge the gap between<br />

the settlement of production costs and export sales<br />

receipts, allowing a business to accelerate cash flow<br />

and shorten operating cycles.<br />

The tenor is designed to fit the relationship between<br />

the exporter and their buyers. The credit period usually<br />

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

Drawdown (DD).<br />

AssEt FINANcINg<br />

This facility can assist manufacturers seeking to perform<br />

equipment upgrades to improve the quality of their<br />

export products or for renovations of their premises.<br />

The tenor is designed to the exporter’s needs and<br />

usually ranges from one to seven years.<br />

EXpoRt cREdIt INsuRANcE<br />

This facility provides risk protection to exporters<br />

against payment default by foreign buyers on goods<br />

and services exported on credit terms. With this<br />

protection, exporters have the confidence to venture<br />

into emerging markets, thereby expanding their export<br />

thrust. With the EXIMBANK credit insurance policy,<br />

exporters can obtain protection against political and<br />

commercial risks.<br />

Premiums vary depending on the buyer’s creditworthiness,<br />

payment terms, and the economic political<br />

environment. Currently the premium rate ranges between<br />

1.6 per cent and 3.5 per cent.<br />

FoREX FAcIlIty<br />

This facility was established by the Government of<br />

Trinidad and Tobago in early 2018 to facilitate export<br />

expansion. This facility is available to established and<br />

existing manufacturers who are currently exporting or<br />

have a confirmed export order. Start-ups or fledgling<br />

manufacturers with confirmed orders will also be<br />

favourably considered. Small to medium sized (SME)<br />

companies with annual sales from TTD$50K but not<br />

exceeding TTD$100M are eligible to apply. Flexibility<br />

will be considered based on export percentage.<br />

Exim House<br />

#30 Queen’s Park West<br />

P.O.S., Trinidad & Tobago, W.I.<br />

Phone: (868) 628-2762<br />

Fax: (868) 622-3545<br />

Email: eximbank@eximbanktt.com<br />


Voice of business<br />

the voice of business on. . .<br />

Labour relations<br />

What is your view of the current labour relations climate<br />

in Trinidad & Tobago? How can it be improved?<br />

The current labour relations climate is a challenging one. We are still<br />

seeing a lot of issues where trade unions are difficult to work with. In a<br />

stagnating economy such as ours, it is an especially difficult time for labour,<br />

and unfortunately unions still deem the employer an aggressor, which creates<br />

an increasingly volatile situation.<br />

Reyaz Ahamad<br />

President, Trinidad & Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry & Commerce;<br />

Executive Director, Southern Sales<br />

and Service Company Limited<br />

For years the Chamber has advocated<br />

for a balanced judicial composition<br />

of public and private sector<br />

representation in the IR court<br />

Recent examples, such as the restructuring exercises at Petrotrin and TSTT,<br />

demonstrate the need for a more conversational approach to industrial relations,<br />

where the employee and the employer work together to resolve matters. The<br />

world of work is changing, and nearly every sector in Trinidad and Tobago<br />

has evolved and modernised. We need a more robust industrial relations<br />

environment in keeping with this.<br />

The climate can improve if workers and employers have more discussion<br />

on how to move forward. Too often, stakeholders perceive that the employer is<br />

being unfair, but we need to examine the entire industry that we are operating<br />

in and consider what is reasonable and unreasonable.<br />

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

of the labour unions change, and the industrial court embrace a more holistic<br />

approach as we move forward.<br />

We are also working with an Industrial Relations Act that is over 46 years<br />

old. This needs to be overhauled to align with global best practice. For years the<br />

Chamber has advocated for a balanced judicial composition of public and private<br />

sector representation in the IR court, so we welcome the recent appointment of<br />

new judges, and look forward to seeing how the climate will continue to evolve<br />

in Trinidad and Tobago.<br />

We are also working with an Industrial<br />

Relations Act that is over 46 years old.<br />

This needs to be overhauled to align<br />

with global best practice.<br />

22 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt

Voice of business<br />

Teresa White<br />

Group Human Resource Director,<br />

ANSA McAL Limited<br />

Unproductive, unhealthy, destructive and anachronistic: last year<br />

Trinidad and Tobago’s labour relations were ranked lowest in the global<br />

competitiveness index, out of 140 nations. The year before it was 133 out<br />

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

really need to get better.<br />

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

steeped in the belief that all commercial employers are inherently exploitative,<br />

and only trade unions can keep them in check. Where that is the prevailing<br />

belief, adversarialism and suspicion are inevitable. And this saddens me on a<br />

very profound level.<br />

The climate can be easily improved, as the assumption of natural enmity<br />

between employer and employee is simply not valid. Most employers are<br />

represented by good people who believe that when their company wins, their<br />

employees win; and that profit is for sharing and for future investment in<br />

sustainable livelihoods.<br />

Most employers care deeply about the personal circumstances of their employees<br />

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

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

don’t operate that way.<br />

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

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

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

obligations should face the consequences.<br />

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

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<br />

our success, but our survival that depends on it.<br />

Derek Ali<br />

Member, Employment & Labour<br />

Relations Committee<br />

Trinidad & Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry & Commerce;<br />

attorney at law<br />

The current climate, from my perspective as an industrial relations<br />

litigator and an industrial relations practitioner, is not as useful as it could<br />

be. It is very adversarial and confrontational, not designed to solve problems.<br />

The labour environment has not changed for decades. Our industrial<br />

relations tools and mechanisms are not conducive to an efficient and effective<br />

resolution of disputes. The legislation needs redefining, and to be codified into<br />

a single code.<br />

Due to the absence of modern legislation, there is too much room for<br />

ambiguity and for people’s opinions to be parachuted into what they think is<br />

good industrial relations. The punitive effects of judgements and decisions by<br />

the IR court are hurting business. Our IR climate needs to align with the new<br />

millennium, and to align globally to foster and encourage the growth of new<br />

and existing businesses, as well as foreign direct investment.<br />

The labour relations environment can be improved in two key ways. First,<br />

we need a fundamental shift in thinking by labour about how it views business<br />

and capital. No reciprocal action is needed as to how business views labour,<br />

because business has already gone a long way with respect to aligning itself<br />

with what is needed to manage manpower in this new age.<br />

Second, we need legislative reform. We need a labour code that conforms<br />

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

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

a toxic labour relations climate.<br />

chamber.org.tt<br />

JUNE 2019 23

Are you ready for<br />

a natural disaster?<br />



Heavy rain caused major losses and devastation in south Trinidad<br />

Have you ever wondered what would happen in Trinidad and Tobago in the<br />

event of a large earthquake, a tsunami, or a major hurricane? Would you and<br />

your staff know what to do? Would your business survive? Are you fully insured,<br />

or just hoping it will never happen?<br />

by Ravindranath Goswami<br />

President, REACT Trinidad and Tobago Council<br />

24 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt

Disaster preparedness<br />

Disaster preparedness is a hot topic during and after events such as fires,<br />

tropical storms, flooding, and earthquakes. In quieter times, the need to<br />

plan and invest in solutions tends to become less urgent. But a real national<br />

conversation is needed around the concept of disaster risk reduction. In the<br />

business world, we must also consider business continuity management (BCM).<br />

Hazards<br />

A hazard is a source of potential damage, a threat. Hazards can be broadly<br />

classified into two categories – natural and anthropogenic (i.e. related to human<br />

behaviour and activity).<br />

According to the Association of Caribbean<br />

States (ACS), between 1990 and 2008 the<br />

Caribbean experienced 165 natural disasters,<br />

with total costs estimated at US$136 billion,<br />

of which half was direct economic impact<br />


Storms<br />

Lightning<br />

Floods<br />

Landslides<br />

Earthquakes<br />

Tsunamis<br />

Volcanic activity<br />


Chemical<br />

Biological<br />

Nuclear<br />

Crime<br />

Terrorism<br />

Combat/wars<br />

Famine<br />

Cybersecurity<br />

Whether a hazard leads to a disaster is largely dependent on vulnerability, risk,<br />

mitigation measures, and overall resilience.<br />

Term<br />

Vulnerability<br />

Incident<br />

Disaster<br />

Mitigation<br />

Resilience<br />

Risk<br />

Definition<br />

A weakness in a system that increases susceptibility to impacts<br />

An unplanned occurrence that requires a response<br />

An occurrence, often sudden, that causes great damage or loss of life<br />

Proactively minimising the impact and loss, and facilitating recovery from<br />

an incident<br />

Ability to adapt to or recover from hazards, achieved by planning ahead<br />

The probability of something failing (likelihood) times the consequence of<br />

it happening (impact, damage or loss)<br />

Trinidad and Tobago’s main areas of<br />

disaster risk in the period 1990-2014, from<br />

an economic standpoint, were seismic and<br />

hydrometeorological, according to UNISDR<br />

(the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk<br />

Reduction). Fires accounted for the highest<br />

incidence of mortality<br />

Risk and vulnerability<br />

According to the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), between 1990 and 2008<br />

the Caribbean experienced 165 natural disasters, with total costs estimated at<br />

US$136 billion, of which half was direct economic impact.<br />

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

from an economic standpoint, were seismic and hydrometeorological, according<br />

to UNISDR (the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction). Fires<br />


11.2<br />

7.1<br />

Fire<br />

Landslide<br />

27.9<br />

55<br />

21.4<br />

64.3<br />

Earthquake<br />

Storm<br />

Wind Storm<br />

Flood<br />

Flashflood<br />

Other<br />



N.B. All scale<br />

disasters without<br />

criteria<br />

Source: United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), 2014<br />

chamber.org.tt JUNE 2019<br />


Disaster preparedness<br />

accounted for the highest incidence of mortality.<br />

In 2014, a vulnerability assessment published by the<br />

Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM)<br />

in Trinidad and Tobago further detailed the actual and<br />

potential hazards to which the country is exposed.<br />

Natural<br />










Seismic<br />


FIRES<br />


air, water, soil, etc<br />


Environmental<br />

Social<br />

Organisational<br />




transport, infrastructure failure, etc<br />



power failure,<br />

telecommunication, etc<br />

Anthropogenic<br />

not specifically include natural disasters. But, given the<br />

prevalence of ICT, special attention must be paid to the<br />

risks posed by cyber-security attacks (listed as #5)<br />

Global top ten risks for doing business<br />

1. Unemployment or underemployment<br />

2. Failure of national governance<br />

3. Energy price shock<br />

4. Fiscal crises<br />

5. Cyber-attacks<br />

6. Profound social instability<br />

7. Failure of financial mechanism or institution<br />

8. Failure of critical infrastructure<br />

9. Failure of regional and global governance<br />

10. Terrorist attacks<br />

Source: World Economic Forum, 2018<br />

What do disasters cost?<br />



hurricanes/tropical storms<br />

disturbances/depressions<br />

FLOODING: land and sea borne<br />

LANDSLIDES: falls, topples,<br />

lateral spreads and flows<br />







Hydrometeorological<br />

Biological<br />


infectious/non-infectious:<br />

epidemics, pandemics, etc<br />


bees, vectors: mosquitoes, rodents etc<br />

Industrial<br />

Technological<br />


FIRES<br />



gas, chemicals & other<br />

hazardous substances<br />

ODPM data for 2006-2010 show that the cost of damage<br />

associated with natural disasters is steadily increasing.<br />

HAZARD LOSSES, 2006-2010 (TT$)<br />


Source: Preliminary Vulnerability Assessment of Trinidad and Tobago, 2014, Office of Disaster<br />

Preparedness & Management (ODPM), www.odpm.gov.tt<br />

The perennial risk of flooding and landslides is strongest<br />

in specific areas (see below).<br />

The Pacific Disaster Centre (PDC) is currently engaged<br />

in a collaborative project assisting Trinidad and Tobago<br />

to complete a National Disaster Preparedness Baseline<br />

Assessment (NDPBA).<br />

Business risk<br />

The World Economic Forum, in enumerating the “Top Ten”<br />

general risks for doing business (see table below), does<br />

Flood insurance claims (ATTIC)<br />

Urgent Temporary Assistance (MPSD)<br />

Relief items (ODPM)<br />

Source: Disaster Risk Reduction Country Document, Trinidad and Tobago, 2014,<br />

Office of Disaster Preparedness & Management (ODPM), www.odpm.gov.tt<br />

Payments to farmers (MFPLMA)<br />

Emergency Relief Fund (MHE)<br />

TOTAL<br />

Flood multi-risk map, Trinidad<br />

Landslide multi-risk map, Trinidad<br />

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

chamber.org.tt<br />

JUNE 2019 27

Disaster preparedness<br />

Disaster impacts<br />

Disasters affect both business interests and consumers in<br />

various ways.<br />

Consumer impacts<br />

Health issues, disease, poor<br />

sanitation, loss of life<br />

Loss of property<br />

Damaged records and items of<br />

sentimental value<br />

Accessibility of goods and<br />

services<br />

Increase in insurance rates<br />

Family conflict<br />

Deferred life objectives<br />

Reduced income and increased<br />

cost of living<br />

Mitigation<br />

Manager<br />

Mitigation,<br />

Planning and<br />

Research Unit<br />


Operations<br />

Manager<br />

Preparedness<br />

and Response<br />

Unit<br />

Chief Executive Officer<br />

Deputy CEO<br />

Training & Education<br />

Specialist<br />

Public Information,<br />

Education and<br />

Community Outreach<br />

Unit<br />

Business impacts<br />

Negative impacts on safety and<br />

security of employees and their<br />

ability to return to work<br />

Physical assets damaged, resulting<br />

in interruption of production<br />

and facilities<br />

Loss of records<br />

Delay in deliveries to customers<br />

Supply chain disruptions<br />

Communications channels constrained<br />

Delay in achieving strategic objectives.<br />

Some never recover<br />

Increased costs and reduction in<br />

profit<br />

National disaster management authorities<br />

The agency responsible for disaster response and risk<br />

management at the national level is the ODPM.<br />

Corporate Services<br />

Manager<br />

Administrative<br />

Support and<br />

Finance Unit<br />

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

Project Management<br />

Specialist<br />

Project<br />

Management<br />

Unit<br />

The ODPM is a centralised organisation that works<br />

closely with the Disaster Management Units (DMUs) of<br />

all the municipal corporations and the Tobago Emergency<br />

Management Agency (TEMA). The DMUs report to the<br />

CEOs of their respective corporations, with a dotted line to<br />

the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government<br />

(MRD&LG).<br />

ODPM has access to a pool of resources, and within the<br />

National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) leverages<br />

the supporting and responding agencies via the Emergency<br />

Support Functions.<br />

Surveying the estimated human capital complement<br />

of the organisations shown below, reveals something of<br />

a resource constraint, given their responsibilities, 24x7<br />

activation, population densities, and wide geographical<br />

coverage.<br />

Estimated human resource requirements:<br />

Trinidad & Tobago emergency organisations<br />

Disaster<br />

management<br />

agencies<br />

ODPM TEMA +<br />

Professional<br />

CERTs<br />

MRD<br />

&LG<br />

Establishment 40 70 56 56<br />

Current staffing N/A 48 56 52<br />

Vacancies N/A 22 0 4<br />

Additional needed N/A 0 0 28<br />

Source: Author, April 2019<br />


DMUs<br />

TEMA is well organised and configured for rapid<br />

response, partly achieved using professional CERTs<br />

(Community Emergency Response Teams), a programme<br />

that trains volunteers in aspects of disaster preparedness<br />

and response.<br />

In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, these<br />

volunteers are already on scene, rendering assistance,<br />

clearing fallen trees, putting out fires, providing first aid,<br />

and undertaking light search and rescue. Official responder<br />

agencies may be overwhelmed and take some time to get<br />

to affected areas, especially if they are remote.<br />

In TEMA’s case, the CERTs are staffers. In Trinidad, there<br />

are approximately 1,000 trained CERT volunteers attached<br />

to DMUs. There is a very ambitious desire to have at least<br />

10% of the population trained in CERT. There is a common<br />

view that each of the DMUs would need an additional two<br />

field officers to cope with the onerous responsibilities.<br />

A National Response Framework (NRF) facilitates coordination<br />

between state agencies and Non-Governmental<br />

Organisations (NGOs) for a range of activities such as early<br />

warning, assessment, emergency operations and relief.<br />

Trinidad and Tobago is also part of CDEMA, the<br />

Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency,<br />

a regional organisation comprising 18 states, with a<br />

Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) strategy.<br />

The Incident Command System (ICS) used by CDEMA<br />








LOCAL<br />



AND NGOs<br />

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

28 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt

Disaster preparedness<br />

is a standardised approach to the command, control<br />

and coordination of emergency response from multiple<br />

agencies across the region.<br />

State of preparedness<br />

It is common to hear at press briefings that we are well<br />

prepared to handle disaster situations, despite the views<br />

often expressed by citizens suggesting the opposite. The<br />

reason for the divergence could well be a combination of<br />

factors: a positive public relations posture, technocratic<br />

insider knowledge, different perspectives, and divergent<br />

expectations. After-action reviews by the agencies do<br />

highlight gaps to be addressed and encourage a process of<br />

continual improvement.<br />

Greenvale 2018<br />

The costs associated with the flooding which took place<br />

at Greenvale in October 2018 are still being calculated.<br />

Relevant agencies are making steady progress in restoring<br />

the community. Some estimates suggest that costs may<br />

approach TT$250 million. While yeoman service was<br />

rendered by responder agencies, questions have arisen<br />

regarding response times, and also about planning and<br />

development issues which may have exacerbated the<br />

disaster.<br />

The volunteer factor<br />

The role of volunteers should not be overlooked. Many<br />

NGOs, Faith-based Organisations and Communitybased<br />

Organisations are involved in the various aspects<br />

of disaster preparedness and response. Due to size and<br />

complexity, no territory would be able to manage a disaster<br />

without the involvement of “good Samaritans”.<br />

Radio Emergency Associated Communications Teams<br />

(REACT) is an international voluntary organisation, geared<br />

toward reliable and resilient communication. Locally,<br />

REACT works closely with emergency and disaster<br />

management agencies and first responders and is written<br />

into the emergency response plans of some businesses<br />

in T&T.<br />

The Emergency Management Association of T&T<br />

(EMATT) is a newly-formed NGO that promotes the<br />

strengthening of a disaster risk reduction culture.<br />

Businesses should pay attention to the work of these<br />

entities and consider engaging with and supporting their<br />

efforts.<br />

Business continuity<br />

Business continuity planning is the commercial equivalent<br />

of public sector disaster preparedness and management. It<br />

involves planning for operations during a crisis or disaster<br />

by ensuring that essential functioning can continue or<br />

quickly resume after the incident. Full resumption as<br />

quickly as possible is an objective of the process, and<br />



Some of the<br />

incidents which<br />

Trinidad and<br />

Tobago has<br />

experienced – or<br />

narrowly missed –<br />

since 1963.<br />

Year<br />

1963<br />

1974<br />

1988<br />

1990<br />

1993<br />

1997<br />

2000<br />

2004<br />

2005<br />

2006<br />

2007<br />

2011<br />

2012<br />

2013<br />

2017<br />

2018<br />

Source: Author, April 2019<br />

Hazards<br />

• Hurricane Flora<br />

• Tropical Storm Alma<br />

• 6.2 earthquake<br />

• Tropical Storm Arthur<br />

Tropical Storm Fran<br />

• Tropical Storm Bret<br />

• 6.1 earthquake<br />

• Tropical Storm Joyce<br />

• Hurricane Ivan<br />

• Hurricane Emily<br />

• 5.8 earthquake<br />

• Hurricane Felix<br />

• Landslides and flooding<br />

• Landslides and flooding<br />

• 6.4 earthquake<br />

• Tropical Storm Bret<br />

• 6.9 earthquake<br />

Flooding<br />

may require external recovery services. Given the critical<br />

nature of data, a comprehensive policy-driven IT Disaster<br />

Recovery Plan (DRP) is essential.<br />

The way forward<br />

If a disaster plan is not already in place for you and your<br />

business, here are some suggestions.<br />

1. Establish a steering committee.<br />

2. Develop a Business Continuity Programme<br />

(BCP), internally or by employing consultants,<br />

referencing standards such as ISO 22301. Ensure<br />

alignment with business strategy, and have<br />

stakeholder consultations. Conduct a risk and<br />

vulnerability assessment, a business impact<br />

analysis, and develop emergency response<br />

procedures and disaster recovery plans.<br />

3. Test and update the plan.<br />

4. Review and improve infrastructure and policies.<br />

5. Carefully consider insurance. Ensure it covers the<br />

type of damage you may encounter and provides<br />

enough coverage to return your business to<br />

operation. Guardian Group and Sagicor among<br />

others offer comprehensive insurance packages.<br />

6. Train employees on the BCP and ICS.<br />

7. Review performance indicators and maintain<br />

focus.<br />

8. Engage in community discussions and consider<br />

mutual-aid schemes.<br />

chamber.org.tt<br />

JUNE 2019 29

Business profile<br />

Angela Lee Loy:<br />

breaking business barriers<br />

She has been breaking glass ceilings in the Trinidad<br />

and Tobago business world for more than 40 years.<br />

She thinks of companies as extended families.<br />

What drives her? CONTACT asked Angela Lee Loy<br />

some direct personal questions<br />

by by Pat Ganase<br />

Freelance writer<br />

I believe in creating strategic alliances<br />

and partnerships, rather than investing in<br />

bricks and mortar<br />

Caribbean Resourcing Solutions (CRS)<br />

joined us in 2015 with a focus on oil and<br />

gas and information technology. It is not<br />

difficult to merge firms when your values<br />

are the same<br />

To begin with your business role: what is your core business at Aegis?<br />

We offer financial services which can be used by any other company,<br />

whether it is an established local company, a multinational, a start-up, or an<br />

international company seeking to do business in Trinidad and Tobago. We<br />

provide administrative services to help clients become statutorily compliant.<br />

This would range from work permits, payrolls, and tax returns to associated<br />

human resource management and accounting services.<br />

I believe in people providing services, creating strategic alliances and<br />

partnerships, rather than investing in bricks and mortar. Our people are<br />

knowledgeable and adaptable, and can work on or off site. We have two<br />

locations, Port of Spain and Chase Village, but technology allows us to work<br />

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

common denominator for all our teams.<br />

It was a simple step to link the services of Eve Anderson [Recruitment<br />

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

spectrum of recruitment and human resource services. Caribbean Resourcing<br />

Solutions joined us in 2015 with a focus on oil and gas and information<br />

technology. It is not difficult to merge firms when your values are the same.<br />

How do you mentor others?<br />

Mentoring is an important aspect of my job, being a bouncing board for<br />

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

when I saw reports on the floods in Trinidad, and that the southbound lane<br />

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

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

because transportation was disrupted, I told them that they should go into their<br />

communities and help. Work could wait. As chairman, I was empowering my<br />

staff to help those in need.<br />

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

experiences. I often say, don’t only have relationships with your contemporaries,<br />

30 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt

Business profile<br />

get to know older people who have so much experience and knowledge to share,<br />

and hear their stories. And younger persons, who are creative and innovative<br />

in surprising ways. If you lead millennials, you need to understand what<br />

stimulates them, how they think.<br />

Angela Lee Loy FCCA CA<br />

••<br />

First female President of the<br />

Institute of Chartered Accountants<br />

of the Caribbean<br />

••<br />

First female President of the<br />

Institute of Chartered Accountants<br />

of Trinidad & Tobago<br />

••<br />

Former Trinidad and Tobago<br />

representative on the International<br />

Assembly of ACCA<br />

••<br />

aaca Achievement Award for the<br />

Americas, 2008, for outstanding<br />

contribution to the accountancy<br />

profession and to business and<br />

society<br />

••<br />

Founder and executive chairman of<br />

Aegis Group of Companies<br />

••<br />

Chairman of Aegis Business<br />

Solutions Limited<br />

••<br />

Chairman of Eve Anderson<br />

Recruitment Limited<br />

••<br />

Chairman of Caribbean Resourcing<br />

Solutions Limited<br />

••<br />

Partner, Aegis & Company<br />

••<br />

Fellow of the Association of<br />

Chartered Certified Accountants<br />

(UK)<br />

What gives you strength?<br />

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

friends, my husband, my staff. My network becomes an extended family. I am<br />

a very contented person. My mother used to say, learn to be content.<br />

I grew up in Barataria but spent long vacations in Mayaro where my<br />

godmother had land. She had pigs, fowls and lots of fruit trees. There were<br />

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

route that took him out into the countryside. He knew everybody.<br />

I attended Nelson Street Roman Catholic primary school, but I was not a<br />

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

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

Because I knew that I had a lot to learn, I developed habits of diligence and<br />

discipline. I took nothing for granted. I learned to be humble. People like to<br />

deal with people who are authentic.<br />

I also learned to tap into spirituality. You have to find time to be quiet and<br />

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

That’s a very powerful habit to cultivate.<br />

What is your goal in business?<br />

It is that all my employees are secure<br />

and can give 100 per cent. If a person<br />

is ill, has problems at home or is<br />

worrying about their children, they<br />

cannot perform fully. My company<br />

is embedding a new business culture<br />

where employees feel supported. This is<br />

If a person is ill, has problems<br />

at home or is worrying about<br />

their children, they cannot<br />

perform fully. My company is<br />

embedding a new business<br />

culture where employees feel<br />

supported.<br />

the philosophy that I pass on to my practice leaders and to everyone in my<br />

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

I believe our business culture can change for the better.<br />


••<br />

Former President of the Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Coalition of Services<br />

Industries<br />

••<br />

Chairman of the National AIDS<br />

Coordinating Committee<br />

••<br />

Chairman of Foundation for Social<br />

Justice<br />

••<br />

Chairman of Music Literacy Trust<br />

••<br />

Director of several public and<br />

private companies and not-for-profit<br />

organisations.<br />

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

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

chamber.org.tt<br />

JUNE 2019 31

32 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt

Business profile<br />


Music Literacy Trust: City Angels "Study in E Minor"<br />

Because I knew that I had a lot to learn I developed<br />

habits of diligence and discipline. I took nothing for<br />

granted. I learned to be humble. People like to deal with<br />

people who are authentic.<br />

What about your role beyond business?<br />

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

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

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

we can minimise them through consultation and collaboration.<br />

When I became Chairman of the National AIDS Coordinating Committee, I<br />

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

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

vulnerable sector.<br />

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

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

information and then figuring out how I can help.<br />

In one organisation, we are looking at the resilience of islands affected by<br />

extreme disasters like hurricanes. I am also involved with the Music Literacy<br />

Trust, which deals with the sustainability of pan musicianship, and the Social<br />

Justice Foundation, which has been training children in rural areas in digital<br />

videography.<br />

I think I am able to do these things because my companies are ethical, productive<br />

and driven: that gives me the freedom to help build other organisations.<br />

chamber.org.tt<br />

JUNE 2019 33


34 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt

Growth and learning corner<br />

The Chamber's growth and learner corner<br />

What have you read, watched or listened to lately that<br />

has contributed to your growth and development as a<br />

businessperson?<br />

Reyaz Ahamad<br />

President, Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Industry & Commerce;<br />

Executive Director, Southern Sales and Service Company Limited<br />

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

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

benefits for all their stakeholders.<br />

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

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

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

in the world.<br />

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

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

responsibility internally to staff and externally to the communities in which we work.<br />

Kiran Maharaj<br />

Managing Director, Caribbean Lifestyle Communications;<br />

President, Media Institute of the Caribbean;<br />

President, Trinidad & Tobago Publishers & Broadcasters Association<br />

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

lessons for any businessperson, especially entrepreneurs.<br />

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

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

challenges to get your desired outcome.<br />

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

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

to gain that perspective.<br />

Dr Christian Stone<br />

Director, 3Stone Research and Consulting<br />

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

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

ways.<br />

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

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

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

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

is known and unknown in the universe.”<br />

chamber.org.tt<br />

JUNE 2019 35

Innovation in business<br />

Meet the Agripreneurs<br />

Harnessing the power of innovation, leading “agripreneurs” – entrepreneurs<br />

in agriculture – are using research and development to deliver health<br />

benefits and food security to consumers. Stacy Seeterram and Sophia Stone<br />

reveal the health benefits of Caribbean Cure teas, and Christian Young Sing<br />

explains how he operates a sustainable farming business<br />

by Jeanette G. Awai<br />

Freelance writer<br />

By keeping it 100% natural, with no<br />

additives or flavourings, Caribbean Cure<br />

made its healing loose-leaf teas stand<br />

out on the global market<br />

Sometimes, to modernise business, you have to look back at cultural<br />

traditions. That’s what Stacy Seeterram and Sophia Stone did with Caribbean<br />

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

premium product.<br />

By keeping it 100% natural, with no additives or flavourings, Caribbean<br />

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

successful pairing of familiar ingredients like mauby, moringa, ginger and<br />

turmeric, with traditional tea ingredients using a special dehydration process,<br />

created a custom, nutritive and delicious brew.<br />

Award-winning teas<br />

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

their product gained recognition on a global scale when they were awarded<br />

two Global Tea Championships. They also received a SIAL Selection in<br />

Innovation award in Paris. That accomplishment was particularly exciting<br />

for the entrepreneurial duo: they were up against nearly 3,000 international<br />

companies which were far bigger and better-known in European circles than<br />

their smaller Caribbean product line.<br />

Getting support from the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA),<br />

Stone notes, was “exceptionally lucky, and helped expose our products<br />

internationally. As two women in agro-processing and export, we have<br />

benefitted from CEDA’s WE-Xport programme (supporting Caribbean women<br />

in business), and have also worked hard to build our brand locally and<br />

36 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt

Innovation in business<br />


internationally through partnerships and relationship building. We were also<br />

participants in the Shell LiveWIRE programme, among others that have<br />

assisted us in getting to the next phase of growth in business.”<br />

Sophia Stone and Stacy Seeterram,<br />

Founders of Caribbean Cure<br />

Creating new blends, new ingredients,<br />

and new tea experiences – including<br />

a new tea-bag line – are just some of<br />

the things we can look forward to from<br />

Caribbean Cure<br />

90% of the water is reused in CRISP’s<br />

farming, which is a great eco-friendly<br />

alternative to traditional growing<br />

methods where water is single-use<br />

Preparing for export<br />

To make Caribbean tea an international phenomenon, Caribbean Cure had<br />

to hold their product to the highest standards. “We have ensured that our<br />

packaging, ingredients and processes go a step above by solving the challenge<br />

of ‘superfood teas’ which actually contain healing properties and are of<br />

exceptionally high quality. We wanted to create a high-end product that uses<br />

the very best ingredients and offers consumers a truly premium loose-leaf tea<br />

experience that showcases the indigenous gifts that are part of the regional<br />

agricultural industry.”<br />

Creating new blends, new ingredients, and new tea experiences – including<br />

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

from Caribbean Cure. Currently, the two entrepreneurs are working on a joint<br />

venture in Japan, where they will be manufacturing blends for sale in the Asian<br />

markets by late 2019.<br />

Keeping things CRISP<br />

For the CEO of Epilimnion Aquaculture Limited, Christian Young Sing,<br />

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

science of agriculture. His retail brand, CRISP, offers customers three types of<br />

locally-grown baby lettuce in its gourmet salad and microgreen mixes – kale,<br />

purple cabbage and arugula.<br />

Young Sing uses recirculating hydroponic technology, a growing method<br />

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

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

which is a great eco-friendly alternative to traditional growing methods where<br />

water is single-use.<br />

CRISP strives to maintain a high-quality sustainable product down to<br />

the compostable “vegware” packaging. But the operation is not without its<br />

chamber.org.tt<br />

JUNE 2019 37

Innovation in business<br />


Christian Young Sing<br />

Founder and CEO of Epilimnion Aquaculture<br />

CRISP’s science-based approach<br />

gives it a competitive edge<br />

by growing non-traditional<br />

crops suitable for Trinidad and<br />

Tobago’s climate<br />

challenges. Young Sing warns: “If production is not forecast and executed<br />

to meet demand, a shortfall will cost you clients, and inversely a surplus<br />

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

farming is such an unforgiving business.”<br />

However, the company’s science-based approach gives it a competitive edge<br />

by growing non-traditional crops suitable for Trinidad and Tobago’s climate.<br />

As a local supplier, CRISP can provide fresher produce with a longer shelf life<br />

to both restaurants and caterers, and to supermarket chains and gourmet stores.<br />

From idea to innovation<br />

A “calculated jump” into entrepreneurship kick-started Young Sing’s<br />

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

competition. The grant he was awarded helped to establish the business, by<br />

reinvesting profits generated through focused product selection and client<br />

targeting. Moving forward, this model is the benchmark Young Sing wants to<br />

continue using.<br />

Ultimately, the goal is to expand the facility into a large-scale commercial<br />

operation which can broaden its products from niche-market items to highvolume<br />

vegetable crops, using cutting-edge technology to manipulate the<br />

growing environment.<br />

The local environment, however, still has some work to do to keep<br />

innovators like Young Sing from becoming frustrated with technical hiccups. He<br />

recommends that businesses like his can benefit from streamlined applications<br />

for permits and incentives; regular online dissemination of up-to-date<br />

information; resolving land acquisition issues; and providing tax incentives<br />

for farmers. He encourages other entrepreneurs to push forward like a scientist<br />

would, by “having a sound framework and realistic thought process to support<br />

your business idea. This will help you gain confidence in your product and<br />

attain successful outcomes.”<br />

38 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt

chamber.org.tt<br />

JUNE 2019 39

Five top facts<br />

5 top facts about<br />

The Caricom market<br />

by Sasha Murray<br />

Freelance writer<br />

The Caribbean Community (Caricom) consists of 15 member states and five<br />

associate members. It claims to be the “oldest surviving integration movement in<br />

the developing world”. The main economic activities are fuel and mining (notably<br />

oil, gas, bauxite and gold), agriculture, forestry and tourism.<br />

1. How big is the Caricom market?<br />

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

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

followed by Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands<br />

2. Which is the fastest growing economy in Caricom?<br />

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

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

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

Top 10 countries by conventional discovered volumes in 2018<br />

Million boe 2071<br />

3. Which Caricom state topped the world<br />

for conventional oil discoveries in 2018?<br />

2000<br />

1500<br />

1000<br />

500<br />

0<br />

Guyana<br />

1336<br />

Russia<br />

United States<br />

Source: Rystad Energy ECube, December 2018<br />

746<br />

672 671<br />

Cyprus<br />

Oman<br />

498<br />

Norway<br />

350<br />

Australia<br />

On land<br />

Offshore<br />

305<br />

United Kingdom<br />

203 194<br />

Gabon<br />

Malaysia<br />

ExxonMobil has made 13 discoveries (at the time of writing) in<br />

Guyana, and will begin producing up to 120,000 barrels of oil per<br />

day from the Liza Phase 1 development in early 2020. There is<br />

potential for at least five floating production, storage and offloading<br />

vessels in the Stabroek Block, producing more than 750,000<br />

barrels of oil per day by 2025. Growth projections for 2020 and<br />

2021 are 29.8% and 22.1%.<br />

4. Who is the biggest trader in goods in Caricom?<br />

In 2016 Trinidad and Tobago’s exports to Caricom were worth<br />

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

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

5. How developed is agricultural trade between Caricom members?<br />

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

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

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

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

chamber.org.tt<br />

JUNE 2019 41

42 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt

Economic outlook<br />

Economic outlook<br />

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

2017 Est. 2018 2019 2020<br />

Latin America and the Caribbean 1.3 1.1 2.0 2.5<br />

Excluding Venzuela 1.9 1.7 2.3 2.7<br />

South America 0.8 0.4 1.8 2.4<br />

Excluding Venezuela 1.7 1.3 2.2 2.7<br />

Central America, Panama<br />

and the Dominican Republic<br />

Caribbean<br />

Latin America and the Caribbean<br />

Economic activity in Latin America continues to increase, but at a slower rate<br />

than anticipated. The weakening global economy and rising policy uncertainty<br />

are contributing to the slowdown in Latin America’s growth momentum. Overall,<br />

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

Table 1).<br />

A tightening of global financial conditions<br />

and lower commodity prices<br />

Projections<br />

brought on by United States-China<br />

trade tensions is continuing to contribute<br />

to the region’s slowdown. In<br />

addition, monetary policy was tightened<br />

in some economies to contain<br />

inflationary pressures stemming partly<br />

from currency depreciation, which<br />

further dampened growth.<br />

As the global economy slows, the<br />

narrow window of opportunity to<br />

complete regional reforms is closing.<br />

The creation of debt and deficit<br />

reduction mechanisms will need to<br />

continue in several countries to ensure<br />

debt sustainability and minimise the<br />

adverse effects on economic activity<br />

and poverty. These developments<br />

should include the protection of infrastructure<br />

for regional investment and<br />

well-targeted social expenditure, while<br />

cutting non-priority spending.<br />

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

to robust tourism from the US, reconstruction from the devastating hurricanes of<br />

2017 in some tourism-dependent countries, and higher commodity production<br />

in some commodity exporters (see Figure 1).<br />

4.0 3.7 3.8 4.0<br />

Tourism dependent 1.1 1.4 1.8 2.4<br />

Commodity exporters -1.3 1.5 1.6 5.5<br />

Latin America<br />

Argentina 2.9 -2.8 -1.7 2.7<br />

Brazil 1.1 1.3 2.5 2.2<br />

Chile 1.5 4.0 3.4 3.3<br />

Colombia 1.8 2.6 3.3 3.6<br />

Mexico 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.2<br />

Peru 2.5 3.8 3.8 4.1<br />

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

Figure 1: Real GDP growth, year-over-year (% changes)<br />

4<br />

3<br />

2<br />

1<br />

0<br />

-1<br />

World<br />

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020<br />

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook database.<br />

Latin America<br />

and the Caribbean<br />

EU blacklists Caribbean countries<br />

In December 2017, the European Union<br />

(EU) published its first blacklist of tax<br />

havens, in an attempt to foster good<br />

global tax governance. It contained 17<br />

countries; updated in March 2019, it<br />

now contains 15 countries. EU member<br />

states accumulated over 12.5 trillion in<br />

government debt, or 82% of the EU’s<br />

GDP, whilst EU-blacklisted countries on<br />

average carry government debt at 61.3%<br />

Economic activity in the<br />

Caribbean is still projected<br />

to pick up in 2019-20, due<br />

to robust tourism from the<br />

US, reconstruction from the<br />

devastating hurricanes of 2017<br />

in some tourism-dependent<br />

countries, and higher<br />

commodity production in some<br />

commodity exporters<br />

of GDP – 20% lower than the projected EU average, despite the EU having<br />

higher than average corporate tax rates.<br />

The list includes Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, and Dominica. They<br />

join Trinidad and Tobago and the US Virgin Islands, which were already on<br />

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

chamber.org.tt<br />

JUNE 2019 43

44 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt

Economic outlook<br />

countries having changed their laws and tax systems to<br />

comply with international standards,” the EU said. Over<br />

the course of 2018, the commission assessed 92 countries<br />

based on three criteria: tax transparency, good governance,<br />

and real economic activity, as well as one indicator, the<br />

existence of a zero corporate tax rate.<br />

The domestic landscape<br />

“Local businesses will continue to benefit from the dutyfree<br />

export of goods and the preferential treatment of<br />

services exports to the United Kingdom,” said Trinidad and<br />

Tobago’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Senator Paula<br />

Gopee-Scoon, as she announced her country’s decision<br />

to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement between<br />

CARIFORUM and the United Kingdom (CARIFORUM-UK<br />

EPA).<br />

Global outlook<br />

Global manufacturing activity and trade showed continued<br />

signs of weakness at the start of 2019; in contrast, activity<br />

in the services sector has been resilient. Some emerging<br />

markets and developing economies are currently facing<br />

negative conditions that are hindering growth, while<br />

others are benefiting from the easing of some external<br />

financing conditions.<br />

United States<br />

Companies within the US added 196,000 jobs in March<br />

2019, marking a significant rebound from poor growth in<br />

February. Earnings data showed that the annual rate of<br />

wage increases slowed to 3.2% in March. The healthcare<br />

sector saw jobs rise, but the retail and manufacturing<br />

sectors both saw declines.<br />

Even though the US experienced employment growth,<br />

it can be seen as a mixed report since 6,000 jobs were<br />

lost in manufacturing, the first decline in the sector since<br />

July 2017.<br />

Table 2: Employment in the United States, 2019<br />

Jobs created<br />

February 33,000 3.4%<br />

March 196,000 3.2%<br />

Wage change<br />

US–China trade update<br />

The US accused China of stealing intellectual property<br />

from American firms by transferring American technology<br />

to China. Washington wants Beijing to make changes<br />

to its economic policies, which it says unfairly favour<br />

domestic companies through subsidies and other support<br />

mechanisms. It also wants China to buy more US goods to<br />

rein in a lofty trade deficit.<br />

In April, US President Donald Trump said the US had<br />

achieved agreement on some of the toughest points in<br />

trade talks with China; if the deal is finalised, a summit<br />

will be hosted with China’s President, Xi Jinping. Failure<br />

to achieve a deal may see the US more than double the<br />

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

impose fresh tariffs.<br />

Rest of the world - FDI<br />

According to FDI Intelligence, countries of the Asia-<br />

Pacific region are the leading destination for greenfield<br />

FDI (where a parent company builds its operations in a<br />

foreign country) in renewable energy, while the US is<br />

the top country, Dubai the top city, and Germany the top<br />

source of investment.<br />

Business lines dedicated to the development of energy<br />

production from renewable sources, such as Enel Green<br />

Power (Enel Group) and Canadian Solar, were the most<br />

active investors with 27 FDI projects each, followed by<br />

Canada’s SkyPower and Spain’s Acciona Energy.<br />

Additional reference<br />

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

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

Dukharan, Marla. “Marla Dukharan Caribbean Economist: March 2019.”<br />

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

“T&T to Sign Trade Agreement with the United Kingdom.” Trinidad and<br />

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

“Global Monthly.” World Bank, Microeconomics, Trade and Investment, Mar.<br />

2019. pubdocs.worldbank.org/en/482391553867433998/Global-Monthly-<br />

Mar19.pdf.<br />

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

bbc.com/news/business-47822492.<br />

“Fair Taxation: EU Updates List of Non-Cooperative Tax Jurisdictions.”<br />

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

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

2019. www.bbc.com/news/business-47729803.<br />

Intelligence, FDi. “FDI Renewable Energy Investments of the Year 2019 – the<br />

Winners.” Rankings – FDiIntelligence.com, 11 Feb. 2019. www.fdiintelligence.<br />

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

Guarascio, Francesco. “EU Adds UAE, Bermuda to Expanded Tax Haven<br />

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

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

chamber.org.tt<br />

JUNE 2019 45

Energy update<br />

Energy update<br />

Local crude oil and natural gas production and usage<br />

➤ Figure 1 shows that apart from the<br />

ownership of the companies, the top three<br />

oil producers have remained unchanged<br />

from Q4 2017 to Q4 2018. It is important to<br />

note that during Q4 of 2018, the domestic<br />

oil refinery was closed, leading to oil<br />

imports being halted for that time period;<br />

this is shown in Figure 2.<br />

Fig. 1: Top oil producers (avg. bopd)<br />

20,203<br />

11,730 11,313<br />

14,810<br />

10,094<br />

9,789<br />

Q4<br />

2017<br />

Trinmar<br />

Petrotrin<br />

Perenco<br />

Q4<br />

2018<br />

HPCL (offshore)<br />

HPCL (land)<br />

Perenco<br />

Fig. 2: Imports vs exports of crude oil (barrels)<br />

8,741,537<br />

2,260,986<br />

N/A<br />

1,521,230<br />

Q4<br />

2017<br />

Imports<br />

Exports<br />

Q4<br />

2018<br />

Imports<br />

Exports<br />

➤ As can be seen in Figure 1, when<br />

comparing Q4 data from 2017 and 2018,<br />

between the top three producers there<br />

was an average decline in oil production<br />

of approximately 20%. Over the same time<br />

period there was a modest increase in<br />

natural gas output of approximately 1.83%<br />

(Figure 4). Figure 3 also shows that the LNG<br />

sector continues to be the major user of<br />

natural gas locally, accounting for almost<br />

57% of total production.<br />

Fig. 3: Natural gas utilisation by sector<br />

Q4 2018 (avg. mmscf/d)<br />

3,299<br />

LNG<br />

1,865<br />

Ammonia<br />

553<br />

Methanol<br />

499<br />

Power<br />

241<br />

Refinery<br />

43<br />

Other<br />

98<br />

Fig. 4: Top local natural gas producers<br />

Q4 (avg. mmscf/d)<br />

2,115<br />

Q4<br />

2017 BPTT<br />

2,002<br />

Q4<br />

2018 BPTT<br />

517<br />

EOG<br />

680<br />

Shell<br />

423<br />

BHP<br />

429<br />

EOG<br />

Source: MEEI Consolidated Report 2017 & 2018<br />

46 June 2019 chamber.org.tt

Energy update<br />

A comparison of Q4 2017 and Q4 2018 production<br />

and export levels for energy and downstream products<br />

Q4 2017<br />

Q4 2018<br />

➤ A comparison between Q4 2017 and<br />

Q4 2018 shows that monthly natural gas<br />

production levels improved for the<br />

month of October; following which they<br />

maintained slightly decreased levels for<br />

the remainder of the quarter<br />

➤ With the exception of methanol,<br />

downstream products on average show<br />

decreases in production levels in Q3 2018<br />

Thousands<br />

5<br />

5<br />

4<br />

4<br />

3<br />

3<br />

2<br />

2<br />

1<br />

1<br />

0<br />

Natural gas production (mmscf/d)<br />

October November December<br />

80<br />

70<br />

60<br />

50<br />

40<br />

30<br />

20<br />

10<br />

0<br />

Crude oil condensate production (bopd)<br />

October November December<br />

Ammonia production (mega tonnes)<br />

Ammonia exports (mega tonnes)<br />

Thousands<br />

460<br />

450<br />

440<br />

430<br />

420<br />

410<br />

500<br />

450<br />

400<br />

350<br />

400 250<br />

390<br />

200<br />

380<br />

150<br />

370<br />

100<br />

360<br />

350<br />

50<br />

340<br />

0<br />

October November December<br />

300<br />

October<br />

November<br />

December<br />

Methanol production (mega tonnes)<br />

Methanol exports (mega tonnes)<br />

500<br />

600<br />

Thousands<br />

400<br />

300<br />

200<br />

100<br />

500<br />

400<br />

300<br />

200<br />

100<br />

0 0<br />

October November December<br />

October<br />

November<br />

December<br />

➤ Urea production was halted from<br />

28 September 2018 to 14 November<br />

2018 in order to conduct a plant<br />

turnaround (i.e. planned maintenance).<br />

Thousands<br />

Urea production (mega tonnes)<br />

70<br />

90<br />

60<br />

80<br />

70<br />

50<br />

60<br />

40<br />

50<br />

30<br />

40<br />

20<br />

30<br />

20<br />

10<br />

10<br />

0 0<br />

October November December<br />

Urea exports (mega tonnes)<br />

October November December<br />

Source: MEEI Consolidated Report 2017 & 2018<br />

chamber.org.tt<br />

June 2019<br />


The Chamber and its Members<br />

Welcome,<br />

new members!<br />

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

3 Stone Research & Consulting Limited<br />

770-4500<br />

christian@3stone.com<br />

Allan Clovis<br />

688-1884<br />

allanclovis1@gmail.com<br />

Ian Davis<br />

688-1912<br />

keycontractorsltd@gmail.com<br />

John Charles<br />

794-5281<br />

johncharles.ttjec@gmail.com<br />


Andrew Bisnath<br />

andrewbisnath@hotmail.com<br />

Sian Cuffy-Young<br />

sian.young@sielenvironmental.com<br />

Avion Hercules<br />

787-0302<br />

avionh@gmail.com<br />

Bertil Taylor<br />

686-7957<br />

info@alibaba-tours.com<br />

Ken Jones<br />

639-5511<br />

ken.jones@jonesmotorstt.com<br />

Keron Cowan<br />

682-6236<br />

keronc@hotmail.com<br />

Sparkle Charles<br />

spaklinggoldchocolates@gmail.com<br />

Stacy Seeterram<br />

stacy.harricharan@gmail.com<br />

Brendon Gray<br />

660-7483<br />

anthony.b.gray@gmail.com<br />

Michael Wheeler<br />

631-7246<br />

wheelersprinklers@gmail.com<br />

Claude Taylor<br />

684-5547<br />

claudgrey@gmail.com<br />

Petronella Hazzard<br />

799-0661<br />

petronellahaz@gmail.com<br />

Darrel De Coteau<br />

787-0476<br />

darreldec@gmail.com<br />

Phillip Charles<br />

290-9064<br />

pcelectric@live.com<br />

Derek De Gannes<br />

639-3077<br />

derek.degannes@gafarrell.com<br />

Premium Cigars Limited<br />

683-3022<br />

support@premiumcigarstt.com<br />

Estuary PR Limited<br />

The Bass House,<br />

11 Warren Street, Woodbrook<br />

367-5295<br />

liza@estuaryPR.com<br />

Rose Ramdehol Auto Sales Limited<br />

115 Woodford Street,<br />

Newtown, Port of Spain<br />

392-1315<br />

herotrinidadandtobago@gmail.com<br />


48 JUNE 2019 chamber.org.tt

chamber.org.tt/CONTACT-MAGAZINE March 2019<br />



top ten BEST SELLING RUM<br />

top TEN trending RUM<br />

2019<br />

as voted by the world’s best bars<br />

2019<br />

as voted by the world’s best bars

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