Welcome to our 2022-2023 edition of the Who’s Who in Trinidad & Tobago Business. We hope that your journey of discovery, page after page, is as inspiring and informative as our publishing team and content producers would like it to be for our customers.
Whenever I hear the term fast forward, I think of technology and the mechanisms that have developed to allow people to skip over things they do not deem important, spending time instead listening or looking at some form of entertainment or educational content. Those people speed up the unimportant content by as much as five times by using two or three arrows consecutively to move ahead to a specific destination where they use a pause button and return to the regular viewing or listening speed.
The age of fast-forwarding has now taken us to new heights as the use of forecasting and visioning has brought the future to the present, and with a high degree of accuracy. Business has moved from five to 10-year planning, to a two to three-year planning cycle, moving faster every day because of the application of technology in all forms and functions.
In the book Exponential Organizations, the author Salim Ismail gives many examples of how a range of maybe 10 different technologies across many verticals – Health, Education, Security, IT, Agriculture, Transportation, Energy & Hospitality – provides time frames for delivering the cost/performance improvement, subsequently getting better by the day so that we can now understand why over the past four years, some technologies’ average cost has come from thousands of dollars for usage to mere cents.
Why do I speak to this in the Publisher’s Note this year? Because I believe the message in the theme of this year’s edition “Fast Forward into 2023” must be that organisations who have chosen to be in the Who’s Who in Trinidad & Tobago Business see their participation not as a cost, but as an investment in the growth and scaling of their business, and as part of an exponential return on an investment strategy that will result in their customers’ trust and experience.
Who’s Who in Trinidad & Tobago Business is not a magazine, it is a marketing and public relations tool, which puts your greatest asset, your people, in the face of existing and future customers. In every company, systems run the business and people manage the systems. Such is the critical pivot around which success moves constantly.
For fast-forwarding to be successful, investing in the right talent is the number one investment strategy that a company, that wishes to be successful tomorrow, must get right today. With the wrong talent, the gaps will come fast and furious and any idea of fast forwarding will inevitably end in failure or will not achieve its desired future state, in the right time frame.
The business environment for 2023, is not likely to look different in the local and regional sense except for perhaps Guyana, which will continue to boom through oil and gas. The global economy will continue to have its ups and downs, but it would appear that those cycles are now much more predictable, and therefore the next year will be one of opportunity, as a window to the next five years will open to those who have the right people, with the right leadership, and the right culture. Those companies that have these three attributes are once again in this publication and those who are in for the first time, now have risen to the challenge.
In closing, let me thank the Executive Publication Team and the Editorial Contributors for once again punching way above their weight and the decision makers in the companies that are represented here, for their continuing brilliant foresight. This foresight continues to bring a very high level of confidence in the possibilities of business success for all customers, employees, shareholders, and communities of these business ventures.
Let’s create the Exponential Experience for all in 2023.
SENATOR THE HONOURABLE PAULA GOPEE-SCOON
MINISTER, MINISTRY OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY , REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Ministry of Trade and Industry
Despite the challenges of the past two and a half years, the resilience demonstrated by the people and businesses of Trinidad and Tobago is particularly commendable and deserving of much praise. Guided by the National Development Strategy (2016-2030) — Vision 2030 and the Roadmap for Trinidad and Tobago: Transforming to a New Economy and a New Society, the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is focused on transforming and repositioning the economy by creating an ecosystem that expands the production of our goods and services, increases productivity, boosts competitiveness, leverages greater use of technology and stimulates innovation across all sectors.
To achieve these objectives, the Government is implementing a number of initiatives in the non-energy sector, in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors and more particularly, the wood and woodworking and agro-processing sub-sectors. The Government acknowledges the symbiotic relationship between labour and productivity, and continues to equip the labour force with the relevant skills sets needed to reshape and recalibrate the economy.
Accordingly, an apprenticeship programme for the non-energy manufacturing sector was launched in June 2022. This programme will train and upskill over 300 persons, enabling them to thrive in a world-class and competitive manufacturing environment. A similar apprenticeship programme for the wood and wood products sub-sector has also been developed and will be launched by October 2022 to provide 50 persons with the requisite technical and practical skills to enter the industry. Additionally, another 600 persons will benefit from training in agriculture and agro-processing under the Youth Agricultural Homestead Programme, and other training opportunities enabling them to sustainably contribute to the sector through entrepreneurship.
It is advocated that increased exports, particularly in the non-energy sector, will considerably boost the economic health of our country. In light of this, the MTI through the Export Facilitation Organization of Trinidad and Tobago (exporTT) is determined to expand the country’s range of exports to existing and new targeted export markets, with the objective of doubling non-energy manufacturing exports by 2024. To this end, the Export Booster Initiative (EBI) was launched in 2021 to assist businesses to increase production, create new and innovative products and expand market access, thereby generating greater revenue and pursuing import substitution.
The use of technology in business cannot be overemphasised. In fact, the pandemic has reaffirmed the critical importance of technology in the way we live, work and do business. The Ministry of Trade and Industry is therefore enthused by the encouraging response to the recently launched Trade and Business Information Portal in May 2022. This platform, which is integrated under the Single Electronic Window-TTBizLink, provides invaluable trade and business information to entrepreneurs and investors enabling them to make more data-driven business decisions. Since its launch at the end of July, close to 100,000 businesses and investors have visited the portal from over 90 countries.
The Government is also committed to creating an enabling environment for attracting business and investment. Accordingly, two fundamental developments—a new Special Economic Zones (SEZ) regime and a new proposed Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, are being spearheaded by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Both entities are expected to be operational in early fiscal 2023 and will be focused on showcasing our country’s business landscape and marketing our non-energy sectors, while enhancing our competitiveness with the rest of the world in our offer of incentives.
Already there is a rebound in the country’s economic position to pre-pandemic levels on account of the implementation of several strategic initiatives by the Government and the strategic actions of our dynamic private sector to recalibrate Trinidad and Tobago. The Government remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering strong public-private partnerships that seek to encourage inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development. In this regard, the support of the private sector will continue to serve as a catalyst in repositioning and reasserting Trinidad and Tobago as a regional leader in business, trade
CHIEF SECRETARY AND SECRETARY FOR FINANCE, TRADE AND THE ECONOMY
Tobago House of Assembly (THA)
For many reasons, the two-year period of March 2020-March 2022 will remain an unforgettable part of history in Tobago, in Trinidad and Tobago and across the globe. The gradual lifting of health restrictions and the reopening of the economy has undoubtedly brought relief to many. There are few individuals who can say they were not impacted economically, socially, physically or mentally by the pandemic, or that they have not dealt with loss in any form. Yet, if history has taught us anything, it is that opportunity is often found in the company of adversity. Thus, our outlook tends to determine our level of success.
As Tobago looks forward to fiscal 2023, this calls for us to reassess, reshape and realign our approach to ensure that the residents of our great island are the beneficiaries of every economic gain we accrue. This is why the island’s budget presentation (2022-2023) outlined development aimed at improving the people’s welfare. Our desire is to make Tobago the “Greatest Little Island on the Planet”. To do so, we must guide Tobago towards fulfilling its considerable potential in a manner that is both sustainable and amenable to the future growth of our resources and our human capital.
We must contribute to this by boosting education and human capital development, and by fostering the spirits of creativity and innovation. We must be intentional about developing an efficient, effective and accountable public service. We must provide quality, science-driven healthcare, while protecting the most vulnerable among us; and we must safeguard the peace and security of our residents, as well as our natural, social and cultural heritage. Of course, this must be undergirded by a technologically driven economy, and transparent, accountable and inclusive governance. Yes, this is a grand ambition, but one that is eminently achievable.
The island’s quest for autonomy is critical to many of these reforms. Autonomy will allow us to put the right resources in the right places and to minimise the bureaucratic delays that threaten to stall our progress. It will also place renewed focus on Tobago’s role in national development. In the end, this will redound to greater, sustainable economic growth within the island, and on a national scale. It is surely the kind of future we look forward to with great optimism and confidence.
Office of the Chief Secretary Tobago House of Assembly Administrative Complex, 62-64 Calder Hall Road Scarborough 900408, Trinidad and Tobago Tel: (868) 639-2696 Fax: (868) 639-5374 Email: [email protected] | Website: tha.gov.tt
Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce (T&T Chamber)
The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce takes this opportunity to warmly congratulate the publishers of Who’s Who in Trinidad and Tobago Business on its newest edition. The magazine stayed the course through the pandemic and pivoted to adjust to prevailing conditions. We are pleased to continue to be part of this magazine which is firmly established as a go-to reference for investors and the business community.
As we emerge from the pandemic, we are confronted with a vastly changed world. Our country is at a defining point as we adapt to embrace the changes and remain competitive. The path ahead demands resilience in a society that will be increasingly defined by technology and creativity. We firmly believe that the support of MSMEs is integral to our national growth and well-being. A focus on the implementation of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) standards is necessary to fulfill our objectives for the betterment of our society.
The Chamber continues represent the “Voice of Business” as we work with other national and regional stakeholders to engender business growth. We provide robust advocacy on key public policies and regulations to foster a facilitative environment that allows all businesses to thrive and be globally competitive. We remain the only business representative organisation in T&T with a Tobago desk. Additionally, we offer an extensive portfolio of services to assist members by offering industry insights, developmental training, medical insurance coverage, a business awards programme, linkages with regional and international business associations and preferential rates for rental of our facilities.
Columbus Circle, Westmoorings, Trinidad P.O. Box 499, Port of Spain, Trinidad. Tel: (868) 637-6966Fax: (868) 637-7425 Email: [email protected]
Website: www.chamber.org.tt Visit our website for more information on the T&T Chamber, or find us on: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Tobago Division of The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce
The Tobago Division of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce congratulates the publishers of Who’s Who in Trinidad and Tobago Business upon successful publication of another informative issue.
The Division was established specifically to serve the needs of the Tobago business community and remains a vibrant and proactive arm of the T&T Chamber. Originally established as the Tobago Chamber of Commerce, it merged with the Trinidad Chamber 37 years later.
The Division will continue its work to be the connector and advocate for businesses on the island, particularly in the areas of tourism and related business streams which are critical to the island. Through the work of our divisional committees and our presence on committees of the Tobago House of Assembly, we engage collaboratively. We also seek out synergistic relationships with central government and national stakeholders. In doing so, we provide a vital link between the private and public sectors and civil society to further the interests of Tobagonians.
Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA)
From Recovery to the Future
The theme of this year’s edition of the Who’s Who in Trinidad and Tobago Business magazine, ‘T&T Fast Forwarding into 2023’ appears to be a needed and natural extension of the national mandate that sought to put the country on the road to pandemic recovery over the course of 2021-22. While strides have been made towards recovery as evidenced by the Central Bank’s last three quarterly statistics, there is still much to be done.
From a manufacturing perspective, Trinidad and Tobago’s economy seems to need to recover and grow at the same time. That is to say, a true fast-forward action is required to keep up with the global rate of change. The good news about this challenge is that all sectors of the economy indicate that they are up to the task at hand. To this end,
I believe the majority of both the energy and non-energy sectors have already set forth adjusted strategies and fresh growth objectives. What is left to be clarified is how both these sectors may fast forward recovery into growth not only for the interest of the sectors themselves, but for the benefit of tens of thousands of employees and other dependents.
One clear-minded vision is required to move the country forward and then a oneness of unity in its execution. Some of the ways I think this unity is built is through partnerships, collaborations, technical exchanges and projects that assemble resources from diverse fields. While not the exclusive skill set of the TTMA, and many other points of such synergies are possible and needed, the TTMA is a community of people who share this philosophy. In proverbial terms, it can be thought of as many hands make light work – an ethos I think is appropriate to accompany the theme of ‘T&T Fast Forwarding into 2023’. As I implore your consideration of theme and ethos, let me take this opportunity to wish you a successful year ahead, that you and your business partners fast forward into a brighter future.
The Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago (The Energy Chamber)
In the past two years, we have seen the role of natural gas increase in importance, both in terms of global energy security and in the pursuit of a low carbon future. This places the need to secure our natural gas supplies high on the national agenda.
The Energy Chamber recently released a six-point plan which we believe is critical to achieve this.
Firstly, as a country, we need to fast-track bid rounds and the approval processes. The only way exploration and development is going to take place is if acreage is in the hands of competent and motivated companies.
We also need to focus on the issue of the reform of the upstream tax system to incentivise investment. Our Fiscal Reform Taskforce analysed the fiscal regime under which upstream companies operate in T&T and concluded that the current structure does not encourage companies to reinvest in exploration or in the development of new fields.
Thirdly, we need to promote investment to reduce the carbon intensity of both operations and products. In the future, cross-border adjustment mechanisms (or CBAMs) for carbon prices are likely to be introduced, particularly in Europe. This means that exporting will be dependent on the ability of operators to deliver low carbon products to market.
Fourthly, action is needed to divert natural gas from domestic electricity generation through energy efficiency and power generation from renewables. Doing this will free up natural gas which can be used in higher value activities like LNG and petrochemicals.
The fifth major area where we recommend action is in encouraging innovative approaches to small field development. We are a mature producer and new fields are often smaller and more difficult to develop.We need to find innovative ways of bringing this gas to market by making the best use of existing infrastructure.
The final area where we think action is needed is to secure cross and across-border gas supplies to be imported via pipeline. There are significant gas resources in neighbouring territories, especially in Venezuela, Barbados and Grenada. In addition to significant untapped offshore gas fields off Venezuela’s north coast, there are significant volumes of associated gas produced onshore Venezuela that is currently flared. The gas flared exceeds the current demand shortfall in Trinidad and Tobago.
Despite the challenges, T&T can position itself strategically in the energy transition and make the most of opportunities that are presented as the world shifts to a low carbon future. However, it is important to act now to ensure that our resources below the ground can be monetized as quickly as possible. Resources left in the ground have no value if not brought to market.
Suite B2.03, Atlantic Plaza, Atlantic Avenue Point Lisas, Couva, Trinidad P.O Box 80, San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago Tel: (868) 6-ENERGY, 679-6623/1398 Fax: (868) 679-4242 Email: [email protected]Website: www.energy.tt
CAROLINE TONI SIRJU- RAMNARINE
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM T&T)
Trinidad and Tobago’s immense natural resources and the talent of our people have made us a welcoming and attractive place for doing business, particularly for trade and investment opportunities. While the pandemic has caused specific challenges, it has also ushered in a new era for potential growth and development opportunities.
In the past two years, digital adoption has become the mainstay of our operations and human functioning which has led to an explosion of creativity, industriousness, and innovation by our people to stay competitive and successful in a rapidly evolving world. I believe this spirit of tenacity and resilience will help build a vibrant and competitive tech sector to increase the country’s economic diversification strategy.
Simultaneously, there are opportunities to develop a nearshoring sector which will also accelerate efforts to diversify the economy, find new and sustainable ways to increase GDP, and mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic on citizens and businesses.
AMCHAM T&T’s commitment to working with the Government to design and execute a nearshoring Strategy and promote digital transformation both in the private and public sectors will produce increased growth and sustainable development. With the right investments and increased collaboration among key stakeholders, we can become a nearshoring leader and use technology both as an enabler and as an industry to provide many opportunities for investors, entrepreneurs, and disruptors.
At AMCHAM T&T, we are well-poised to lead the business community through our expertise and access through our network of 25 AMCHAMs within this region. We are committed to developing a conducive business environment and building a resilient and cohesive society. So, make AMCHAM T&T your preferred growth partner into T&T or from T&T to the hemisphere!
62 Maraval Road, Port of Spain
P.O. Bag 150, Newtown, Port of Spain Tel: (868) 622-4466/0340, 628-2508 Fax: (868) 628-9428 Email: [email protected]Website: www.amchamtt.com
The Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CCIC)
For the last two and half years, businesses in Trinidad and Tobago and around the world had to combat and adapt to the culmination of the pandemic and the many problems that ensued from the war in Europe. Economic headwinds came in the form of supply chain disruptions, increasing inflationary pressure at the pump and the groceries, inefficient institutions, and ineffective government decisions.
When businesses found a glimmer of hope through pharmaceutical breakthroughs, mass vaccination, and the ease of restrictions on business sectors, the evolution of the Ukraine-Russia conflict brought yet another form of turbulence with which they had to wrestle. Indeed, the economic forecast for global growth remains dampened by various institutions as the vicious reality of the war looms large.
For a long time, businesses in T&T viewed themselves as immune and far removed from global shocks and pressures. However, a new day has dawned where political and economic instability (in developed nations that contribute heavily to providing major inputs) has far-reaching consequences in other parts of the world.
As we proceed along the second half of 2022 and look to 2023, businesses will not only have to be adaptable and agile to survive, they have to be antifragile. According to Nassim Nicholas Taleb, “Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; antifragile gets better.”
Leaders cannot continue to do business as usual. Their decisions must be strategic and this means from procurement to capital budgeting, everything must be evaluated with rising inflationary pressures and supply chain disruptions at the top of mind.
This is also why digitization and the need for innovation can no longer be a luxury in T&T. It is a necessity. Embracing digitization not only allowed companies to lower their rental costs for physical space, but also enabled access to a wider market across the country and region.
You can innovate or wait until things go back to normal. Unfortunately, there were many businesses during the pandemic that were inflexible and did not want to adapt to the pace of change. Some of which had to close their doors permanently.
In sum, the businesses could not have imagined that Covid-19 would have caused so much disruption. Nevertheless, those who anticipated and adapted won. In the marketplace from 2022 to 2023, the companies that become antifragile will survive this period while the rest of the business world will be equipped to deal with a trade environment that no longer exists.
Trinidad Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism Association (THRTA)
The Trinidad Hotels, Restaurant and Tourism Association (THRTA), Trinidad’s largest private sector tourism body is honored to once again be part of this year’s Who’s Who in Trinidad & Tobago Business publication.
As the THRTA continues to advocate for industry stakeholders on matters that can both negatively and positively impact the tourism-centric trading landscape, as it has done for more than half a century, on behalf of its membership and nonmembers alike that comprised the recognised locally owned independent hotels and guesthouses, as well as those belonging to international chains. Other integral components of its membership include restaurants, transport and tour operators and a multitude of companies that provide goods and services to the tourism industry.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been the most disruptive phenomenon to our tourism value proposition in the past three generations. In light of such, the THRTA understands the need to work with all public and private sector partners, towards returning some level of normalcy to the trading environment, be it so with less resources, through advocacy and industry representation, strategic collaborations, networking and alliances, research and data acquisition and sourcing new revenue generation opportunities that will engender short term survival.
The THRTA remains cognisant that the post-pandemic modus operandi demands that it must capitalise on opportunities that may not necessarily be generated from traditional sources as a strategy to ensure that each element of Trinidad’s tourism value chain continues to place the destination’s collective interest above self-interest, through rigorous adherence to and monitoring of Health and Safety Best Practices to influence the level of confidence for all travellers to Destination Trinidad.
Employers’ Consultative Association of Trinidad and Tobago (ECA)
Over the last two years, we have become hyper-aware of the value of resilience and the ability to respond to crisis events. We quickly learned that traditional models of work and business can sometimes hinder adaptability, and unless we embrace change, we risk being restricted in our ability to unlearn behaviours that no longer serve us. The shift towards remote and hybrid forms of work has been the most prominent example of this new reality.
In this regard, the ECA has been at the forefront of urging organisations, and providing support, to pivot towards the development and implementation of resiliency strategies with supporting systems and policies. Moreover, we understand that at the national level, there needs to be continuous dialogue on how to effectively build back better and stronger.
At the core of these issues is the question of human capital. Developing economies like ours cannot underestimate the necessity of nurturing our human resources within the region. Equally important in this conversation is recognising and accepting that the skills of the future will be different and therefore, our education and training systems and goals must be so aligned.
We need to inculcate values, at all levels, which encourage lifelong learning, and where necessary, reskilling. This is not always an easy road but encouraging an intrinsic need for continuous development within individuals will contribute to building a resilient workforce and society, with long-term, socio-economic benefits.
Now more than ever, we need responsible leadership to acknowledge and address the challenges we all face today and prepare us to thrive in the face of new adversities. The good news is that we already have a medium, through Social Dialogue, to frontally address these issues and encourage collective action among all stakeholders. Business groups and the private sector also have an important role to play in this regard. In fact, business organisations around the world have been leading conversations around sustainable economic transitions and the development of skills and capacities. Our future is dependent upon the decisions we make today, so let us collectively commit towards developing a world that is sustainable for those who inhabit it now, and for generations to come.
Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries Limited (TTCSI)
TTCSI stands ready to drive services exports
One of the silver linings of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the increased use of technology to connect businesses with consumers. As the TTCSI and its member associations navigated the rough waters of 2020 into 2022, one of the mechanisms we used to ensure that service providers and industries can survive and thrive was to research, develop and implement a robust strategy for businesses to #GoGlobalTTServices.
Over the course of the past three years, we have:
Accelerated training for service providers and firms in Services Go Global (SGG).
We have produced an electronic catalogue with the support of Caribbean Export for graduates of the SGG programme.This catalogue highlights businesses that have the capacity to internationalise. Ideally, this catalogue should be of interest to commercial banks.
We have increased the TTCSI’s reach to include support of sub sectors that were not traditionally on the radar, namely barbering and hairdressing, woodworking, retail and distribution, speech and occupational health therapists.
We are leading the charge for the reimagination of the maritime and yachting sectors.
Developed the National Services Exporters Portal.
Conducted extensive research on nearshoring opportunities for T&T as well as produced a Cluster Development Plan for Business and Events Tourism and are in the process of mapping the economic contribution of sports to T&T.
These are just some of the key projects that we have been spearheading.This is work that most business support organisations would shy away from, but not us at the TTCSI.We are serious about leading the charge for a new strategic direction for services in the Caribbean region.Be part of the movement to build a cadre of services exporters. Join us at the TTCSI as we move to accelerate the growth of services in T&T.
The Supermarket Association of Trinidad and Tobago (SATT)
The Risk of Standing Still
Kickstarting an economy which has been shorn of the desired outputs and exports in various industries alongside an ever-ballooning food import bill, has created much tighter financial conditions for an ever-wearier citizen. Increasing food insecurity concerns linger and this has created the potential for social malaise, while ad hoc strategies are devised in the interest of the national recovery.
Adapting to the new normal has been frustrating for retailers and customers alike. Two years of crafting digital solutions for material consumables has spun the ‘means’ on a careening carousel towards the ‘ends’ that consumers desire. Yet the same smart technologies have not been able to replicate experiences but craft conveniences, which have petered out due to shifts in consumer trends towards the nostalgia of household experiences.
While the outlook remains shrouded in uncertainty, we require astute leadership that steels against global currents. We must continue to invest in our people as our single greatest resource. Their individual development ensures the sustainability of a national pool of continuity as the heritage we leave for them must be the crowning legacy rising from the ashes of the pandemic. This will require crafting wily solutions for the present time with an eye on the medium to long term.
Tempering innovation with tradition by creating frameworks for technologies while recognising the cultural significance of household values is also a means to reset social dissonance. Therefore, with the myriad challenges Trinidad and Tobago continues to face, standing still is not an option.