The year 2020 started as a very exciting and positive one for the local and global business community even though we were not actually arriving at the famous destination outlined in “Vision 2020” that had been developed many years ago.
We were coming off the 2019 global stock market success with predictions of Dow Jones indices topping the 30,000 mark up to the end of February. Then the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic hit Europe and the Americas. With a free-fall collapse of the Bellwether stock markets along with the price of oil and natural gas literally tanking, Trinidad and Tobago was being hit even harder with the price of energy-based commodities, a mainstay of the T&T economy, collapsing along with all the other global supply chains that make up world trade.
Since then, we have seen a first wave of lockdown, a first wave of reopening and now, the second wave of lockdown, without a real end in sight. T&T had a pretty good run in the early days until community spread raised its head in late July.
At the time of writing, it would appear the spike is far more than anticipated and that there is all likelihood of a further return to the days of policies to balance saving lives versus livelihoods.
However, I believe that there have been many lessons learned, many positive ones at that and if it were not for the sense of unpredictability over the next 12 months, in this new disruptive business landscape, the business community, civic society and Government could use those learnings to support the rebirth of Trinidad and Tobago as a society of collaborative problem solvers, raising the bar for future generations.
The Who’s Who in Trinidad and Tobago Business customers, who are the backbone of the publication, our dedicated employees and, of course, our thousands of readers all believe in the power of human capital as the driver of innovation and business transformation, which is the pathway not necessarily to defeat this dreaded virus but a way to survive and thrive now, and after COVID-19. We have shifted gears and adjusted the compass forever.
Who would have thought of a T&T workforce where the majority of people are working from home, homeschooling and online learning with their children, not travelling overseas for most of the year, and not being able to go to church for weddings, worships and funerals, and are now being held accountable to wearing face masks in public at all times.
We need to say thank you to all who have put their lives and livelihoods on the line for others during this time and also to those who have repurposed, repositioned and reset their business models and their people capital, to help flatten the curve of the virus’ spread in our country, but also to continue to find new ways to meet their customers’ brand new compelling needs for goods and services.
The team at Prestige Business Publications, publishers of the number one indigenous business networking tool, the Who’s Who in Trinidad and Tobago Business remains confident that if we as business owners continue to focus on the valuable people who appear in the publication by making them leaders in their businesses, we will lead the way back to prosperity and safety post-COVID-19.
Thank you all for your contributions to the success of another edition of Who’s Who in Trinidad and Tobago Business, 2020-2021.
SENATOR THE HONOURABLE PAULA GOPEE-SCOON
MINISTER, MINISTRY OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY , REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Ministry of Trade and Industry
2020 marks a watershed for all, including Governments, firms and individuals in both the developed and developing worlds whose futures hinge not only on their ability to weather the devastating effects of the Novel Coronavirus, but also on their awareness to see the numerous opportunities that lie ahead and their resolve to adapt and take firm action.
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago, like others, faced significant challenges with this latest onslaught but has acted decisively and has demonstrated the ability to balance the needs of public health and economic resilience while creating an environment that promotes social protection and engenders confidence in the economy.
To date, the country’s economy has demonstrated resilience as the economic fundamentals have remained robust, as evidenced by close to zero inflation (0.4%), low unemployment, sufficient import cover (8 months), solid HSF reserves and projections of growth. However, to ensure continued growth and expansion of trade and investment, the Ministry of Trade and Industry is committed to implementing several initiatives such as its new Trinidad and Tobago Trade Policy, e-Commerce Strategy and the creation of several new economic spaces for investors to engage in economic activity and stimulate non-energy exports.
The new Trade Policy seeks to promote business and investment in Trinidad and Tobago, enhance trade relations with regional and international trading partners, improve competitiveness, and strengthen the country’s export base to capture the gains from trade. This involves reducing the country’s food import bill by increasing the supply of locally produced food items, as well as establishing cheaper alternative supply chains within the region. The Ministry is also resolute in the implementation of its e-Commerce Strategy promoting and facilitating a digital economy with the prevalence of online sales and payments which have grown in importance. To facilitate and complement these initiatives the modernisation of existing economic parks such as the Tamana InTech Park and the creation of new economic spaces such as the Moruga Agro Processing and Light Industrial Park offer investors lucrative opportunities for firms to research, innovate, produce and expand non-energy exports.
The above are tangible manifestations that the Ministry of Trade and Industry will continue to play a defining role in the diversification and development of the country as we navigate through the new normal. They are compelling evidence of the Government’s unwavering commitment to providing the necessary tools and policy direction to stimulate economic activity in a digital economy, which is critical now, more than ever.
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)
The COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis and a catalyst fused together; a period of uncertainty that can still be leveraged to further the development of this country. In many ways, it has thrust us into the digital future, challenging us to become more tactical and resilient in the way that we do business.
At the Tobago House of Assembly, we continue to navigate the complexities surrounding this new normal.From the onset, the island’s tourism industry has experienced tremendous strain like so many of our regional and international counterparts. Through collaboration with the Central Government, a $50 million allocation was made available to hoteliers and proprietors for renovation purposes. Indeed, this downturn is being harnessed strategically, to build a more competitive tourism product going forward. The THA has also implemented a $4 million Tourism COVID Relief Grant, to render greater support to other industry players.
Much of our energies are also being invested into the agricultural sector. This pandemic has reminded us of the vulnerability of global supply chains, and the importance of boosting food security. Liaising with farmers and agro-processors regarding their ideas and challenges remains a top priority of this administration.
In addition to the above, ensuring that the SME’s can circumvent this unprecedented chapter is crucial. Therefore, our Business Development Unit (BDU) has announced new initiatives and expanded previous programmes targeting local entrepreneurs.
Truly, this is a disguised opportunity for Tobago to
re-examine and recalibrate its vision. A chance to return to the world stage possibly stronger than before.
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]
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce (T&T Chamber)
The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce would like to congratulate the publishers of Who’s Who in Trinidad and Tobago Business on another successful edition, particularly in light of the challenges that came with the COVID-19 pandemic early in the year.We are pleased to continue to be part of this magazine, which has maintained a consistent standard of excellence and remains a go-to reference for investors and businesspeople overall.
As the recognised “Voice of Business”, the T&T Chamber provides 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.Additionally, we offer an extensive portfolio of services to assist members through advocacy, lobbying, networking opportunities, trade facilitation and missions, business development training, preferential rates for conference/meeting facilities, and dispute resolution services. With a goal of providing the vital connections that will empower members to build strong and sustainable businesses, we have been adding services.
The Business Insights series provides ‘training for business by business’ through live events, webinars and on-demand platforms. Our Membership Value-Added programme provides cost-saving benefits to members on selected services. The T&T Chamber has also created a special category of membership open to local participants of business incubator programmes. This is one way we offer support to entrepreneurs and start-ups as they develop into viable commercial enterprises.
Our organisation continues to be national in scope, with over 550 corporate members spanning the services, retail and distribution and manufacturing sectors as well as start-up operators, while Tobago’s business community is served through our Tobago Division. The T&T Chamber serves on over 30 national and non-governmental committees where we represent the views of Business to national stakeholders. Our internal committees are comprised of members who volunteer their time and expertise to provide input on a range of issues – from trade, logistics, finance, small business development and technology to leadership, responsible business and environment, safety and health.
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 warm congratulations to the publishers of Who’s Who in Trinidad and Tobago Business, upon publication of another informative issue.
The T&T Chamber remains the only business representative organisation with an office established and specifically dedicated to serving the needs of the Tobago business community.Originally established as the Tobago Chamber of Commerce, it merged with the Trinidad Chamber 37 years later becoming a becoming a national organisation.
Over the years, many teams have contributed to the respect in which the Division is now held.As we go forward, the Division will continue to be the connecting thread in advocacy for operators on the island in critical areas of business and tourism development. We will do this through the work of our seven committees and through our presence on committees of the Tobago House of Assembly.We also engage collaboratively with other representative groups in Tobago and seek out synergistic relationships with central government and national stakeholders. In doing so, we provide a vital link between the private and public sectors and civil society to further the interests of Tobagonians.
Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA)
Businesses are adapting to the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic by implementing technology to improve efficiencies and reduce human contact. The use of technology not only preserved lives through stay at home initiatives to prevent the spread of the virus but it also preserved livelihoods through continuity of business. The digital 4.0 discussion began long before COVID-19 and was considered a topic to watch and potentially invest in. Businesses that took the plunge into digital 4.0, before COVID-19, and invested in software, apps, ecommerce and automation, to streamline processes, were not only ahead of the game, but better prepared to pivot quickly to a global crisis that affected supply chains, human resources, market share, inventory and cash flow. Companies that offered flexible schedules, shift systems, and work from home solutions were lauded as forward thinking and progressive. This is our new normal. As a result, we are all forced to improve our technology skills, ultimately resulting in a new labour force, technically competent for tomorrow’s economy. Traditional time-keeping and measurement of productivity has changed. Productivity is now measured more genuinely by input and output and not on superficial time cards. Through digitised processes, production lines are streamlined to find inefficient uses of time and materials. We have been encouraged into a world that is more flexible, efficient and productive, using technology that has successfully improved the traditional production lines and office management routines. These new technologies will continue to assist business growth and global competitiveness long after the current COVID-19 crisis ceases to disrupt economies.
TTMA has launched its Manufacturing Export Strategy (2020-2025) which seeks to stabilise, strengthen and secure the position of manufacturers for the balance of 2020 by encouraging local businesses to support each other and locally procure goods and services which may have traditionally been sourced externally. The result is envisioned to be an enlarged market space that will encourage manufacturers to lower imports by locally producing products to meet increasing demands. Additionally in 2020, the TTMA intends to focus on regaining market share for its members regionally via virtual trade missions and hosting its first-ever virtual Trade and Investment Convention (TIC) which will facilitate meaningful business-to-business meetings and strengthen existing relationships while creating new ones. Quite appropriately, the theme for TIC2020 is “Breaking Boundaries: The New Normal for Business” and will be hosted from 28th October-30th October 2020.
As President, I look forward to continue working with our 525 members, various associations, regional partners and the Government to collectively stabilise, secure and strengthen our manufacturing industry in Trinidad and Tobago, ultimately improving the quality of life for all citizens of our proud nation.
The Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago (The Energy Chamber)
The Energy Chamber remains focused on positioning Trinidad and Tobago as the energy services hub of the region and playing a leadership role in the sustainable development of the sector.We continue to work towards achieving this by focusing our efforts in six key advocacy areas: fiscal reform, gas value chain realignment, promoting local content, increasing energy efficiency and renewables, industrial relations reform and exporting energy services.
The crisis which now confronts the oil, gas and petrochemical sector in the Caribbean, brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and sharply falling commodity prices, while unprecedented, is not insurmountable.We believe that greater efficiency can bring about the cost reductions that all players in the sector now require for survival in the current scenario. Policy measures to improve the ease of doing business and cutting unnecessary regulatory red tape must be a central element of the recovery plan for the region.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. 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.
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: [email protected]Website: www.energy.tt
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM T&T)
At AMCHAM T&T, we recognise that we have a key role to play in attracting investment into T&T and a responsibility to make our society better. While COVID-19 may have presented many challenges, it is important to focus on the opportunities that have arisen from this pandemic. It brought us the opportunity to accelerate the digital transformation in the way we do business and interact with the State. It showed that, once given the push and the right support, we can be agile and transformative. This agility and resilience show that there is some untapped potential here for local business to grow and for investment in our local ecosystem that can result in expansion into new markets, new opportunities, and new innovations.
Our geographical location, just north of South America, and cordial ties to our American and CARICOM neighbours position us to enjoy beneficial trade relations with many of the countries in the Western Hemisphere. Our geography, culture, creativity, adaptability and natural resources open up many opportunities for investment in the areas of tourism, manufacturing, and our main economic influencer, the energy industry. Also ripe for exploitation are the emerging markets for technology, communications and the creative arts.
To achieve this will require strong leadership and even more collaboration between the State, the business sector, unions, civil society, and the wider society. AMCHAM remains not only a strong advocate for collaboration, but we see ourselves as a catalyst for meaningful dialogue. Therefore, 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 an environment conducive to business and to build a resilient and cohesive society where the role we expect business to play will require fairness and adherence to the rule of law. 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)
The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented times globally, creating not only massive upheaval from an overall health and wellness perspective but also contributing to the never before seen historic drop in oil prices to minus figures.
As we move forward, we are mindful of the delicate balance required to ensure optimum health of our population and economy. Hence, we are more focused on how to integrate healthy practices in our businesses to ensure high overall productivity and efficiency as we plan for the new economy that will focus on basic needs e.g. food and shelter.
Post COVID-19, our country has recognised the need for innovation and creativity in areas like manufacturing, agriculture, and agro-processing to offset the negative economic effects of dwindling oil revenues.
The business community, the agricultural producers and Government must team up to create an enabling ecosystem for agro-food processing and manufacturing with a focus on export markets as well as green technology as an alternative source of fuel to lower the overall cost of food production over time.
As business owners and leaders, we have the opportunity to restructure our businesses allowing our employees the latitude to co-create new business models with us, to become better versions of ourselves. It is important also that we are decisive, communicate well and work collaboratively with our teams. As leaders in a crisis, we are also called upon retool and rethink our management strategies. With a visionary outlook we can be assured of a brighter future for our nation. 17 Cumberbatch Street Chaguanas, Trinidad
Tel: (868) 671-2242 (CCIC)/779-8804
Email: [email protected] Website: www.chaguanaschamber.org
Trinidad Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism Association (THRTA)
The 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.
The THRTA continues to be the leading advocate voice on tourism-related matters, as it has done for more than half a century on behalf of its membership that comprised of the recognised locally owned independent hotels and guest houses, as well as the 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.
During this upcoming period and in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the THRTA will redouble its efforts towards recreating an enabling investing and trading environment for its member companies and industry partners through advocacy and industry representation, strategic collaborations, networking and alliances, research and data acquisition, revenue generation and financial sustainability, and human capital development.
Through the Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute (TTHTI), its in-house training arm, the THRTA has forged key alliances with various internationally accredited and globally recognised institutions which has significantly improved its training offerings and collective value proposition for its existing and future student base, and the development of the tourism industry’s human capital.
The THRTA is of the considered view that the New COVID-19 Normal requires increased collaboration locally and internationally to ensure that each element of Trinidad’s entire tourism value chain operates in concert through the implementation of, adherence to, and monitoring of health and safety best practices to engender the level of confidence required to influence regional and international travellers to return to Destination Trinidad.
The tourism industry must survive and we remain committed to this effort.
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)
The Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI) is the representative body for associations within the national services sector. We currently represent 51 associations with a combined membership of approximately 662,510 companies and persons. Over the course of this year, we have embarked on a number of initiatives to assist members in navigating the pandemic by focusing on exporting their services.
In collaboration with exporTT, in July TTCSI embarked on a webinar series, ‘Building Alliances for Recovery’, with the objective of bringing stakeholders with common causes together to find innovative solutions to challenges impacting their industry.The intention is to facilitate discussions within specific clusters.
The first webinar attracted 53 participants from the Trinidad and Tobago Institute of Architects, the Association of Real Estate Agents and the Trinidad and Tobago Society of Planners and focused on COVID–19 design challenges for the built environment. In October we will collaborate with regional coalitions on mapping a regional digital agenda.
Regionally, Caribbean Export continues to provide support to our membership, the training pipeline for Q3 – Q4 2020 is as follows:
• The Services Go Global Training Programme modules are being upgraded to include a digital component, thus allowing for virtual delivery in the future.
• We continue to work closely with the Caribbean Network of Service Coalitions (CNSC) to secure funding from international donors for projects which will advance trade in services in the region.
The Supermarket Association of Trinidad and Tobago (SATT)
2020 has given birth to new paradigms that have witnessed massive shifts to traditional models of doing business. It has witnessed economic upheaval on a global scale creating supply chain uncertainties that have brought certain ramifications for retailers and consumers. This pandemic tossed social conventions out the window and instead gave us social distancing, hand wash stations, face masks and much more.
The challenges that continue to exist continue to remain multifaceted. Economic transformation that requires several different ‘fixes’ along with strategies to achieve returning the nation to the trough of increased foreign exchange, is dire. This will certainly affect the variety of products customers will find in supermarkets nationwide. The very careful calibration of this transformation must revolve around creating job security and, ultimately, food security which is where our ambition must lie.
Our nation is extremely blessed to have a supermarket and retail sector that boasts one of the most competitive in the Caribbean and Latin America. Our customers are spoilt for choice by their options. This translates well for consumers but also delivers innovation by retailers seeking to capture market share. Online growth and virtual options have inspired innovative delivery options, made more consumer-centric as technology and competition have thrust us into a period of change.
As we navigate a very novel situation of transformation, the theme for retailers moving further into 2020 is one of consolidation. It is a time to encourage the sector to adapt new strategies to thrive on leaner efficiencies as well as encourage emerging technologies. Most of the nation’s customers would have done their first grocery e-commerce during this period. More than likely, it will not be their last. Corner Connector Road and Chaguanas Main Road Chaguanas, Trinidad Tel: (868) 689-2037, 762-9702 Email: [email protected]; [email protected]Website: www.satthq.com