Opening and Welcome Remarks
Delivered by: Nirad Tewarie, CEO AMCHAM T&T
Tuesday 27th June 2017
· Jennifer Baptiste- Primus, Minister of Labour and Small and Micro – Enterprise Development
· AMCHAM T&T Board of Directors
· Carolyn Sancho, Executive Director, Occupational Safety and Health Agency
· AMCHAM T&T HSE Committee Members
· Representatives of the Sponsor Companies of AMCHAM T&T’s 21st Annual HSSE Conference & Exhibition
· Specially invited guests
· AMCHAM T&T members
· Members of the Media
Ladies and gentlemen, a pleasant good morning to you all
It is indeed a pleasure to deliver this morning’s opening remarks and welcome you to the Launch of the AMCHAM 21st Annual Health, Safety, Security, and Environment Conference and Exhibition and the National HSE Awards. At AMCHAM T&T, the promotion of excellence in health, safety, security and environmental management remains one of our core tenets. We encourage our members to uphold and aspire to achieve the highest standards in these areas as we believe that the benefits positively impact not only the organization but the wider national community. Many, if not all of you are very familiar with these benefits which include:
· Automatic compliance with relevant legislation;
· Avoidance of uncontrollable costs and business interruptions;
· Efficient use of resources;
· Increased employee morale and productivity and
· Improved reputation and the potential to attract new business.
HSSE excellence, therefore, ensures an organization’s resilience to withstand threats and the sustainability of business success, simply put - “HSSE makes good business sense”. Now in its 21st year, the upcoming Annual HSSE Conference and Exhibition continues to be one of the AMCHAM’s flagship events and an effective vehicle for sharing information, encouraging best practices and elevating National HSSE awareness and standards. It is for this reason that I am very excited to share with you today some of the features of this upcoming event that will be held on November 14th and 15th here at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad.
The chosen theme this year is “People. Systems. Sustainability”. We are confident that this theme is both timely and appropriate, as all three components are necessary for business success. I also think it is important to point out, that the most important of the three component, we have listed first- People. We cannot attain business success, without thinking about our employees. No system would be sustainable unless it takes into account the most important asset of any company, its people. It is against this backdrop that I echo the call made by the AMCHAM T&T’s President earlier this year, for the trade union movement to return to the National Tripartite Advisory Council. It is also important that Government more meaningfully engage business and labour on key national issues. We understand and accept that the government has to lead and take decisions about the present and future of our country. However, the problems our society faces cannot be conquered alone. Anyone who thinks they can is making a grave mistake.
All of us have a role to play. AMCHAM T&T and the business community is willing to play its role. To lend many hands. To get to solutions, we must start with meaningful engagement.
Many of us were uncomfortable with the depiction of our society by the recent Anthony Bourdain production. Far from being portrayed as a happy, integrated, rainbow nation, we came across as a patchwork - segmented, fractured enclave. To some extent that is true, but it is not good for our society. Beyond social dialogue, which is extremely important to assist with the macro environment, we all have to make more of an effort to reach out to people from outside of our communities to better understand their concerns, hopes, dreams, problems and even suggestions for solutions.
So why talk about this here? At AMCHAM T&T we are firm believers in a conscious society underpinned by enlightened self-interest – the understanding that for you to truly succeed, the overall lot of the whole must improve. Wealth and success can never really be enjoyed if we all do not have opportunities, safety, and mobility. Businesses that are more diverse – in terms of race, gender, geography – tend to perform better.
We also have some significant issues to address in our society. One such issue is the behemoth that is Petrotrin. Petrotrin can be described as a systemic risk to our economy in terms of its debt and asset integrity; competitiveness and productivity; income inequality; our full commitment to the CSME; the weakening of institutions; reform of the public service are but a few. To address these risks, Business, Labour and Government must come together. We believe that only with all these groups working together we can reverse some of the negative economic and socio problems which affect our country. AMCHAM T&T remains ready to assist, in any way we can, to facilitate the healing of the relationships between business, labour and Government.
We need to create safer working environments for our employees. We have done a fairly good job of this in the energy and heavy industrial sectors, but much more needs to be done in the contracting sector.
As you will hear this morning, from the Minister of Labour and Small Enterprise Development, Iain Daniels, of Ely Place Chambers and the One Caribbean Media Group Executive, Corporate Services, Gregory Camejo, the current OSH legislation needs work to meet the needs of our current environment for both the employers and the employees.
The objective of our HSSE Conference and Exhibition is to identify practical applications of HSSE Excellence as tools to achieving sustainable development. The Conference offers a neutral platform to discuss important issues and seeks to bring a diverse audience together. This year we will address issues relevant not only to our CEOs, HSE practitioners, and security experts, but also very relevant to our Occupational nurses, contractors and HR professionals, like:
· COP 21 & Renewables
· Health Roots- Root cause analysis and equipment failure
· Mental Health
· Electronic terrorism
· Leadership and Errors
amongst other topics. As sessions and speakers are confirmed they would be updated on our website and you would receive periodic updates via email. The deadline for the early bird registration ends today, however, Melissa has instructed me to extend it until July 14th an additional two weeks.
For 2017, I am pleased to inform you that we have expanded the Exhibition component of the event. Some 40 organizations will be on show, displaying products and or services for use within the HSSE sectors. For exhibitors, this is an excellent opportunity for marketing and to retain and build a customer base. For the participants and visitors to the exhibition, this is an opportunity to witness the practical application of various products and seek out information directly from suppliers.
The final feature that I would like to share with you today is that of “Excellence in HSE Awards” scheme and ceremony. Held on the afternoon of the first day, the “Excellence in HSE Awards” scheme recognizes and rewards organizations that uphold Health, Safety, and the Environment (HSE) as fundamental business values and excel in both business and HSE performance. The initiative therefore provides an incentive for all companies to improve their performance and encourages winners to maintain their high standards. Encouraging companies to participate in this awards scheme is yet another avenue to promote the implementation of HSSE best practice across all sectors and organizations. I encourage you to seek out additional information over the coming weeks so that your organization may also have a chance at making the winner’s row.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to remind you that this is the only opportunity locally and regionally to attend an HSSE Conference and Exhibition of this scope and quality. The event will bring together professionals from the private and public sectors from the fields of Occupational Health and Safety, Security, Environmental Management as well as Process Safety, Disaster Management and Business Continuity. A wide range of high caliber speakers both local and international will address the six aforementioned focus areas. I am sure you will agree that AMCHAM T&T 21st Annual HSSE Conference & Exhibition promises to be an exciting event and is not one that should be missed by any committed stakeholder. Attending this event is an excellent opportunity to share information, gain exposure to HSSE best practices and network with professionals in a field that has the potential to shape the country’s future and achieve meaningful sustainable development.
I encourage all of you to seek out additional information from the AMCHAM T&T Secretariat and consider participating in one of the several activities available. Please become involved and reap the benefits that will accrue not only to you the individual but to your organization and by extension our wider national community.
I thank you for your attention and look forward to seeing you in November!
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