The 2021-2022 edition of Who’s Who in Trinidad & Tobago Business is the second published during the COVID-19 pandemic as, despite vaccinations happening in Trinidad and Tobago and globally, the spread continues. We do need to change gears now as it looks like this new normal will prevail for many years to come. We hear about lives and livelihood, response and recovery, sustainability and resilience and we know that all of these activities have a distinct role in the journey of the pandemic, but we know very little about what strategies and best practices we should adopt to cover all the phases above. This publication focuses on people in their businesses and how they create and nurture relationships and networking, so my message this year is about resilience and recovery on the wings of change.
It is said that there are five pillars of resilience which are self-awareness, mindfulness, self-care, relationships and purpose.
Self-awareness is having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivations, and emotions.
Mindfulness is a state of active open attention to the present.
Self-care refers to our ability as human beings to function effectively in the world while meeting the mindful changes of daily life.
Positive relationships are the reciprocal connections we share with people who support and care for us.
Purpose is a recognition that we belong to and service something bigger than ourselves.
As businesses recover from COVID-19-related disruption and begin to reimagine their position in the new normal, they need to become more self-aware as this impacts their ability to achieve long-term resilience. Businesses must consider all the potential strains on all functions of operational capacity, as well as take their employees’ psychological resilience into account.
They need to look at the shifts in demand and how to prepare for them. They need to seek out innovative new ways to improve health and increase the productivity of their people. There will be a need to think about new capital allocation models and focus on creating value, which will allow businesses to avoid disruptions that happen a lot quicker than before. Lastly, the major question we in the private sector seem to be asking is – what is the role of our businesses in rebuilding our economy and improving our communities? We must answer the call to be involved in a higher sense of purpose if we wish to succeed.
Organisations must now navigate and support employees’ expectations associated with the new normal. This means managing change associated with a shift in workplace arrangements. Organisations will need to address the work from anywhere and hybrid schedule expectations in order to recruit and keep top talent. There will be a need for effective change management for resilience and recovery to soar on the wings of change.
As always, I wish all the stakeholders of this publication a speedy transition from the state of surviving to thriving.
SENATOR THE HONOURABLE PAULA GOPEE-SCOON
MINISTER, MINISTRY OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY , REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Ministry of Trade and Industry
Trinidad and Tobago’s recovery is imminent. The past year and a half have been particularly challenging for us all, however, it has also been an opportunity globally for governments and businesses alike to reflect and reformulate their efforts for creating more resilient and adaptive institutions, businesses and workforces. In the face of the pandemic, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago has been focused on balancing lives and livelihoods as it seeks to keep the economy on an even keel as we move towards recovery and growth through transformative initiatives and programmes that will engender confidence in our people, entrepreneurs and investors.
Through the stewardship of the Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley, a Roadmap to Recovery Committee was established comprising public and private sector, labour, civil society and academia. A Plan of Action known as the Roadmap to Recovery was developed and it outlines a clear strategy for the immediate and long term. The Plan focuses on three (3) main pillars: Economic Transformation; Food Security; and Leave No One Behind (through Equity and Empathy). It encompasses all sectors of the economy, including social services, energy and energy industries, agriculture, manufacturing, financial services, digital, construction and development, creative and cultural and the green and blue economies. Advancing these recommendations of the Action Plan requires a national paradigm shift which must be bold, focused and results-oriented and include participation from all stakeholders.
We have heard the concerns of the business community regarding the ease of doing business in Trinidad and Tobago. Rest assured that as a Government we are working towards making doing business in Trinidad and Tobago more effective and efficient through the advancement of digital transformation. To date, several Government e-services have been introduced through various platforms such as TTBizlink, DevelopTT and Government e-appointments. Additionally, work has also commenced on improving business processes across a number of Agencies. This year, Cabinet agreed to the implementation of nine (9) priority Business Process Re-engineering recommendations geared towards simplifying, modernising, and harmonising the major regulatory processes for import, export, transit and business facilitation services in Trinidad and Tobago and we are well on our way to achieving these goals.
The Government is also investing in economic spaces such as the Phoenix Park Industrial Estate and the Factory Road Industrial Park through which local and international firms can securely invest and expand into the wider region. This will be reinforced by the roll-out of a new Special Economic Zones regime later this year that will target specific sectors through a robust regulatory and incentive framework, and which will ensure that Trinidad and Tobago’s investment climate is open, transparent and attractive.
Despite the current challenges, Trinidad and Tobago’s non-energy trade has seen some positives, growing by 26% during the period October 2020 to June 2021, when compared to the same period a year before. This is very encouraging and a step in the right direction. With the willingness of firms to pivot and adapt, and the assured commitment by the Government, our path is clearer and our destination more achievable.
Ministry of Trade and Industry Level 17, Nicholas Towers 63-65 Independence Square Port of Spain Tel: (868) 623-2931-4 Fax: (868) 623-7588 Email: [email protected] Website: http://www.tradeind.gov.tt/
THE HONOURABLE ANCIL DENNIS
CHIEF SECRETARY OF TOBAGO HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY (THA) AND SECRETARY OF Tourism, Culture and Transportation
Tobago House of Assembly (THA)
Resilience is how Tobago has always responded to adversity. Today, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s economic challenges and even the Assembly’s 6-6 deadlock, the island continues to achieve significant development milestones. Indeed, as a people, we are not defined by those challenges, but by our determination to rise above them.
On the tourism front, Destination Tobago acknowledges the fluidity of our current circumstances. Through the Tobago Tourism Agency Limited (TTAL), a Tourism Industry Health and Safety Manual was developed providing operational guidelines for local businesses in the sector. This Manual played a crucial role in attaining the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) ‘Safe Travels’ stamp, a globally respected safety standard. This is an encouraging development that can help to maintain the trust of repeat visitors and instil confidence in potential visitors to the island. TTAL has also repackaged the island with a focus on wellness tourism.
Major improvements are also occurring on a deeper scale within the industry. The Inter-Island Ferry Service has been bolstered with the addition of two fast ferries, thus increasing accessibility to our island. North-East Tobago was designated a UNESCO ‘Man and the Biosphere’ reserve – the largest of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean and our sustainable tourism thrust was further strengthened by the approval of two Green Key properties.
With the issuance of the first tranche of our historic $300M bond for developmental projects, Tobago has embarked on a new, bold path – one that might be paved with obstacles, but one that will be extremely rewarding.
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
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
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, especially given the challenges resulting from the global pandemic. We are pleased to continue to be part of this magazine which is firmly established as a go-to reference for investors and business people overall.
Our country is now at a defining point as we confront a new society that is fuelled not by fossils but by creativity, use of technology, collaboration and sustainability. As a people, our historical resilience must come to bear, for the path ahead is one in which we must embrace change to our very social fabric in the recovery process.
The T&T Chamber continues to represent the “voice of business” as we work with other national stakeholders to engender business growth. We provide robust lobbying and 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 Trinidad and Tobago with a Tobago desk. Additionally, we offer an extensive portfolio of services to assist members through 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.
Visit our website for more information on the T&T Chamber, or find us on: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
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 extends congratulations to 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.
As we move forward into a post-pandemic recovery phase, businesses on our island will be called upon to adapt and reimagine their operations. The Division will continue its work to be the connecting thread in advocacy for operators on the island in critical areas of business and tourism development. Through the work of our seven 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)
Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association (TTMA)’s mission and primary focus is the stabilisation and exponential growth for our members of the manufacturing sector in Trinidad and Tobago.
We are quickly approaching the second half of Year Two of the COVID-19 pandemic where many were hopeful our situation would be behind us, but it remains. The uncertainty has not only challenged the manufacturing sector, but most industries.
The resilience of the manufacturing sector determined to survive and take the requisite steps to adapt, pivot and reinvent are quite evident and notable.
In 2020, TTMA set an audacious goal to double exports by 2025. Based on current projections, all efforts and resources apportioned should realise this goal.
TTMA’s mission and call to service in a strategic approach during this pandemic was to evolve. One of the key takeaways commissioned was a virtual platform for trade missions. This methodology was widely successful and remains a key avenue for growth and expansion opportunities for our members to increase the value.
CARICOM remains the second largest export market for Trinidad and Tobago outside of the United States. During this period of border closures, virtual trade missions within CARICOM have been very successful and fuelled export growth.
TTMA also embraced the opportunity to partner with exporTT and the Ministry of Trade and Industry to prepare our Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for export via the Export Booster Initiative. This initiative is geared towards the establishment of Trade Facilitation Offices and Trade Attachés, gathering of market intelligence, hosting of virtual trade missions and a virtual expo platform with the availability of translating services. It also affords the opportunity for in-market promotion and the promotion of sector profiles.
Another very effective venture is the TTMA’s alignment with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Trade and Industry in a public-private partnership to undertake the management of vaccination sites for the business community under the Government’s programme ‘Vaccinate to Operate’.
TTMA supports a strategic approach for the safe reopening of the economy and collaboration among stakeholders plays a major part of ‘Safety for Success’ for the business community.
TTMA in its public-private partnership with the Government has administered 40,000 vaccines to the business community and public. With the Manufacturing Sector completely re-opened, continued vaccination and adherence to stringent COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols are key. TTMA encourages everyone to be vaccinated to protect yourselves and your loved ones.
TTMA is in service to our membership and committed to continued growth and expansion for the manufacturing sector.
TTMA pledges our full support to a safe and successful reopening of all sectors.
The Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago (The Energy Chamber)
The global energy sector has always been dynamic and responsive to major shocks. In 2020, however, many key issues emerged which has caused the energy sector to rethink its future. One of the most pressing issues is energy transition. Over the past year, we have seen strong commitment by the global energy sector to address the dual challenge: the need to produce increasing amounts of energy but at a dramatically lower carbon footprint. The impact of this has far-reaching effects throughout the energy value chain and the supply chain and it is clear that it is not going to be “business as usual”. The energy sector has taken clear leadership in this area and many of the major oil and gas companies have committed to Net Zero by 2050 or sooner.
Within this new context, the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago remains focused on positioning Trinidad and Tobago as the supply chain hub of the region and playing a major role in the sustainability of the sector. We continue to work towards achieving this by focusing our efforts in six key advocacy areas: increasing energy efficiency and renewables, gas value chain realignment, fiscal reform, promoting local content, industrial relations reform and integration regional energy services markets.
While the COVID-19 pandemic of course still looms large, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel, now that the country is in a better place to start easing restrictions. The “new reality” will require policy measures to improve the ease of doing business and cutting unnecessary regulatory red tape, which must be a central element for economic recovery. We must take advantage of this ‘new reality’ to automate systems, especially Government regulatory processes. Additionally, labour market reforms must be central to the recovery plans, as well as removing subsidies that promote inefficient use of resources. Greater integration of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) labour markets, especially for skilled but currently uncertified workers, will help the overall efficiency of the region’s energy sector. Governments are going to have to work closely with the local private sector and international investors to ensure that the overall investment climate promotes new energy sector investment. This includes getting the right fiscal measures in place to ensure that we continue to attract capital into the upstream oil and gas industry. Without this investment, the petrochemical and LNG sectors have a very uncertain future.
It is necessary to consider the additional changes that are impacting the global, regional and local energy sector, that is the energy transition and the urgent need for the industry to decarbonise energy production rapidly and fundamentally, whilst simultaneously providing sustainable and reliable sources of energy. There are many opportunities that we have here in the region to take a leadership role in the energy transition. Focusing on Trinidad and Tobago, one of the world’s oldest hydrocarbon producers, we already have many of the ingredients in place to play a leading role.
As the representative body of our energy sector, the Energy Chamber will continue to advocate for, and take the lead in ensuring that the sector remains competitive and sustainable and continues to serve all stakeholders.
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: ex[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 is an ideal destination for trade and investment opportunities. Our geography, culture, creativity, adaptability, and natural resources offer many great opportunities for investments in the areas of tourism, manufacturing, and the energy industry where Trinidad and Tobago has one of the largest petrochemical industries in the world. Also, investments in tech, communications, and the creative arts present many benefits.
Ultimately, what makes us a rich and vibrant nation is our people. The world-class energy, creativity, and adaptability we have shown time and time again define our small twin-island State into a beacon of hope and dynamism. This is a great place to work, live and play!
The disruptions of COVID-19 may have created some hardships, but it has also provided many opportunities that ushered in the acceleration of digital transformation especially in the way we do business and interact with the State. Investments in tech provide untapped potential here for local businesses to grow and ultimately become one of the leading tech hubs in the world.
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 Trinidad and Tobago or from Trinidad and Tobago 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)
Since 2020, the business community has endured many challenges locally, regionally, and internationally, brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sectors such as retailers, food service and manufacturing to name a few have been substantially hurt given the downturn in sales due to restrictions and border closures, while still having to cover various operating and fixed costs. However, the pandemic has also provided opportunities for new and innovative business models, which if properly implemented, will ensure future sustainability and growth.
The advances in globalisation have been challenged due to the pandemic, and this was clearly apparent given the many supply chain issues throughout the world. We must therefore aggressively implement strategies to become more self-sufficient through the diversification of various sectors, looking beyond the dependency on oil and gas. We must embrace and protect our most precious resource – our people. Education and innovation should be a top priority as they are indeed the key drivers for any diversification opportunities.
COVID-19 has exposed significant vulnerabilities in brick and mortar operations within the retail sector. This has accelerated the desire and urgency for businesses and consumers to utilise digital platforms for operating their business and making purchases. Furthermore, with regard to digital platforms, social media has created many new career opportunities for individuals to become influencers, bloggers, etc. While the concept is not new, the pandemic has accelerated their importance for the future.
We must, as a country motivate the younger generation to appreciate the value of social media and its critical role in business today. The Chamber realises that the way of the future is the online economy. It is therefore important for SMEs to adapt to this model to ensure their sustainability.
The Government needs to provide the necessary infrastructure to foster an environment for the private sector to successfully embrace digital transformation. Business chambers ought to provide educational programs to assist businesses in moving towards digital marketing of their products and services, through social media platforms.
In due course, payment methods will continue to evolve and we may have to embrace cryptocurrency as a means of digital payment. The State should already be formulating laws and procedures to regulate the use of digital currencies.
Trinidad Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism Association (THRTA)
The Trinidad Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism Association (THRTA), Trinidad’s largest private sector tourism body is honoured 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 non-members alike that comprised of the recognized locally-owned independent hotels and guest houses, as well as the those belonging to international chains. Other integral component of its membership includes 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 both the most disruptive phenomenon to our tourism value proposition in the past three generations, in the 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)
It is once again a distinct pleasure to extend warm greetings from the ECA. This new decade began with the global community engulfed, as some commentators have described, in a pandemic of unprecedented proportion. The reality is that COVID-19 has created a health crisis, a socioeconomic crisis and a world of work crisis.
Given the continued impact of this pandemic both domestically and internationally, the uncertainty around its depth and duration and the recent declines in oil prices, there is no question that from a financial perspective, T&T is also standing on shaky ground. However, similar to the remarkable successes realised in “flattening T&T’s curve”, the ECA is confident that we can recover and build back better for long-term sustainability.
However, recovery necessitates our coming together as citizens and leaders of society to create a future that is sustainable in economic, social, and environmental terms. There must be a tangible manifestation of the commitment that no one will be left behind and principled compromises in the sharing of the burden of adjustment among social partners. I cannot overemphasise the importance of an active commitment to a progressive system of Tripartite Social Dialogue built on trust, mutual respect, collaboration, and consensus.
From the ECA’s perspective, we must first appreciate and firmly accept that “we are in this together; we will be able to come out of this together; and most importantly, we are stronger together”. We remain committed to supporting the employer community in this regard through responsible advocacy, informed representation and the provision of innovative and transformational services.
Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries Limited (TTCSI)
Since March 2020 Trinidad and Tobago, like the rest of the international community has had to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Managing the spread of this aggressive and deadly virus has been challenging, our citizens have been asked to curtail their movements, isolate themselves from friends and loved ones and give up their source of income simply to survive; lives vs livelihoods. Fifteen months later, we continue to be asked to ‘stay the course’.
Trinidad and Tobago faces several challenges:
Prolonged lockdowns and restrictions to operate
Extended border closure
Sectors prepared to open, still closed
Reduced revenue in circulation – job losses and wage cuts
Family dynamics – financial hardship – homeschooling – childcare – globally women are most affected
During this period, the TTCSI has been hard at work collaborating with our members to ensure that they are able to address the challenges presented by the pandemic. We have been working with member associations to ensure the safe reopening of their sectors once approval is received. This, without a doubt, has been our greatest challenge, balancing lives with livelihoods. We are, however, committed to meeting these challenges and look forward to working closely with our members and stakeholders over the short and
The Supermarket Association of Trinidad and Tobago (SATT)
As the curtain fell on 2020, many looked toward the coming new year with renewed hope. The sheer trauma that COVID-19 has caused to both society and the individual shook the nation to its proverbial knees. The die that caste essentials from non-essentials with the restrictions that followed could surely be the worse of the pandemic that we ever hoped to experience right? Plus, vaccines were turning the corner with big pharma receiving the stamp of approval from the World Health Organization. A glimmer of hope on the horizon.
Fast forward to June 2021. If anything last year, the average household held onto some modicum of savings as a safety net, the frustration was still nascent not yet plumbing the depths of our sanity while we were still able to ensure collective buy-in to the restrictions.
The deeper a crisis goes, the deeper we are able to measure the elasticity of the attitudes, behaviours and platitudes of the people whom it affects the most. And today we see that as an alarming indication of where we are as a society. It measures the elasticity of our resilience to maintain that which is being asked of us while acknowledging the most ignominious of circumstances in which we find ourselves.
As a people and a culture, the path to recovery is shaped by that desire we inherited from our indigenous forefathers; the desire to craft a better future. While COVID-19 has robbed us of these opportunities, it has not dampened those ambitions. Today’s protagonists have pivoted even before the term was ever coined. COVID-19 has given us a timely reminder that the most basic human values shape us as a people as we trudge the road to recovery. May we extol such virtues as we seek to exit this pandemic.
Corner Connector Road and Chaguanas Main Road Chaguanas, Trinidad