The Lawrence Placide Award

January 6th, 2021

About the Lawrence Placide Award, Ms. Vashti G. Guyadeen Chief Executive Officer, Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries

Second Annual Lawrence Placide Services Go Global Award 2020

December 18, 2020

It is my pleasure to share with you insights on the TTCSI and Caribbean Export’s 2nd Annual Lawrence Placide Services Go Global Award. This Award was designed to recognize the contribution of Mr. Lawrence Placide to the development of the services sector in the Caribbean region.

Larry as he was known to many of us, started his career in foreign affairs and in the 1990s he was assigned to the World Trade Organization where he focused specifically on the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). He was recognized as one of the top experts on trade in services in the Caribbean region.

He played an instrumental role in the negotiations of the (FTAA) Free Trade Area of the Americas Trade Agreement for the CARICOM region, the Mutual Recognition Agreement for Architects under the EU – CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement of 2008, the CARICOM – Canada Trade and Development Agreement, and other trade agreements to which this country is party.

In the built up to the EU – CARIFORUM EPA, the Heads of Governments of CARICOM took a decision to establish Coalitions of Services Industries. As the leading authority on trade in services in Trinidad and Tobago and given his experience as the Head of the TT Chamber’s ITNU, Lawrence Placide emerged as the first Pres­i­dent of the Trinidad and Tobago Coali­tion of Ser­vices In­dus­tries (TTC­SI). He was a keen ad­vo­cate for the devel­op­ment of the sector. He was a strong advocate for Caribbean integration and epitomized Black Stalin’s “The Caribbean Man”. Larry also mentored many of his colleagues and young professionals in the international trade field.  He was a great resource in the field of trade negotiation, and his knowledge and experience has been sorely missed at a national level.

These are just some of the reasons why this Award is named in his honour, as we aim to continue the work, he started many years ago.

Given that the Award was introduced last year, we were adamant that it must continue despite the global pandemic. The Caribbean Export Development Agency in collaboration with the Belize Coalition of Services Providers and TTCSI stepped in to host the SGG.    In early October of this year, Caribbean Export supported 21 services providers operating in the business and professional services, and information, communication, and technology sectors (ICT) in both countries.

Out of the eleven (11) graduates from this country, seven(7) persons completed their Export Plans. This is a remarkable achievement since they did this is less than one month. They were:

  • Josephine Anne Lodge
  • Abiel Thomas
  • Allan Samaroo
  • Debbie Ann Jolie
  • Catherine Da Silva
  • Nashroon Mohammed and
  • Sian Cuffy – Young

They received one on one coaching based on their performance during the workshop. The objective of the coaching was to provide them with feedback to complete their export plans. 

The workshop was facilitated by master trainers, Michelle Hustler (Barbados) and Dr. Nsombi Jaja (Jamaica).

There are currently a number of opportunities for small firms to enter new markets, and it is anticipated these will be increased once they have participated in the SERVICES Go Global programme. In 2021, TTCSI will host four Workshops. The sectors identified are Business and Professional Services, Sports and Recreational Services, ICT, Education Services and Health and Wellness Services. The way forward is to offer these programmes jointly with other CSIs namely Belize, Jamaica, Guyana and the OECS.

Our journey with these entrepreneurs does not end today. The Ministry of Trade and Industry approved TTCSI’s proposal for the execution of the Gateway to Trade Programme in fiscal 2020/2021. This programme is an advanced SGG. The objective is to move the graduates from SGG to the G2T Programme.

The goal of the project is to enhance the global competitiveness of Trinidad and Tobago’s services providers and industries and to encourage exports through market linkages initiatives.

Objectives include:

  • To provide export-readiness training to SMEs in five selected sectors in order to improve export readiness.
  • To deliver an export-focused training of trainers’ certification programme to trainers from business support organizations (BSOs) in Trinidad and Tobago to support programme sustainability and knowledge transfer.
  • To provide coaching to SMEs in the selected sectors to support the execution of export plans and improve export marketing initiatives (value proposition, website, company profile); and
  • To support the development of strategic initiatives for the sector.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we were encouraged by the reaction of our colleagues within CARIFORUM on the Lawrence Placide Award. Many CEOs have reached out to me, requesting that this Award be extended to their country. A Caribbean Lawrence Placide Award will truly reflect who Larry was and we look forward to expanding the reach of this Award in the not-too-distant future. In closing as we reflect on the life of Lawrence Placide, the best way to sum up Larry’s life is through a famous Jamaican saying: “ he was likkle but he was tallawah”.

Ladies and Gentlemen thank you.