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  • 12 Nov 2021 4:55 PM | Kennedy Maraj (Administrator)

    LINKAGE Q3 (2021) - LEARN, EVOLVE, THRIVE: CELEBRATING 25 YEARS IN HSSE

    PRESIDENT's message

    TONI SIRJU-RAMNARINE - PRESIDENT OF AMCHAM T&T

    Twenty-five years ago, AMCHAM T&T began advocating a culture of health and safety across all organisations in Trinidad and Tobago. In 1996, our guiding philosophy on this topic centered on the central belief that “H.S.S.E. policies and practices don’t just make good business sense, they also save lives.” Since then, we have delivered and share information, encouraged best practices, and elevated H.S.S.E. awareness and standards.

    To establish T&T as an attractive and viable destination for conducting business and facilitating trade and investment opportunities, it isn’t enough to have the necessary infrastructure, resources, and talent. We also need to ensure that the health and safety of our people and the preservation of the environment are at the forefront of our operations if we want to effectively compete on the global market.

    Learn, Evolve, Thrive

    This year, we are commemorating our 25th HSSE anniversary with the theme “Learn, Evolve, Thrive” both at our annual HSSE Conference and Exhibition and with this issue of our LINKAGE magazine. “Learn, Evolve, Thrive” encapsulates our experiences over this past year, and also defines the story of our journey during these past 25 years.

    Today the world is very different from what it was in 1996. Many lessons have been learned that allowed us to modify our approach to HSSE and to try new things, so that we are continuously evolving to meet present-day demands. Certainly, the pandemic has been a major hurdle to overcome during the past year and a half, but it has also renewed the importance of health and safety to our survival and existence.

    I wonder—what will be the story we tell future generations about this decade? Will it be about a pandemic that disrupted global processes, systems and norms? Or will we be remembered more for our unifying action and commitment to transition to a new model of human existence that is healthier, safer, and more equitable for everybody?

    Just look at all the lessons this pandemic has taught us that have helped us to learn, evolve and thrive under some very challenging circumstances. At the onset, when very little was known about the virus, countries, companies and citizens stepped up and rose to the challenge. The HSSE leadership and excellence we saw exhibited in those early days, and even today, channelled us out of doom and despair and into a place of hope and optimism.

    Employers pivoted quickly

    I was amazed during those early months by how quickly many companies were able to adapt to what was billed as the “new normal” and secure the safety of their employees and customers. Employers lost no time to pivot their operations to remote working conditions to keep employees safe. They provided personal protective equipment to essential workers and reconfigured their site floor operations to accommodate their customers.

    Going digital: Many made digital transformation key to their survival and business continuity during the periods of lockdown, while others even took advantage of the disruptions and created new supply chains, products and services. Because of this level of innovation and ingenuity, digital is now considered the new currency that will keep us thriving in the present and the future. However, with that comes the threat of increased cyber-attacks faced by all businesses today, which must not be overlooked. We have seen these attacks grow in volume, creativity and audacity, resulting in stolen data, breaches to national security and major financial losses. Therefore, resilience in a post-pandemic era will mean greater protection from, attention to, and spending on cyber security.

    Mental Health: Didn’t we all feel that we were going crazy during the lockdowns? The topic of mental health, once considered taboo and trivial, finally got the attention of leaders as they made sure to provide added support and care to their employees. Moving forward, I envision hybrid ways of working that will keep employees motivated with policies catering to remote working, flexitime and mental health days.

    Put the Human in HSSE

    So what is HSSE going to look like in the future? We can continue implementing new systems and processes aimed at reducing risks and preventing hazards or injuries, creating more rules and regulations. Or we can place the importance on our people, assessing how they can truly benefit from these new systems and processes, and how they continually create new tools and technology to combat unforeseen problems. That’s how we put the HUMAN in HSSE, and how we create a much stronger culture of trust and collaboration.

    Moving forward, companies seeking to establish good HSSE policies and processes have to learn from their past mistakes, adapt to the new circumstances, and be willing to evolve so that they are always preparing for a new normal, even if that may seem to be far away on the horizon. Instead of a decade when we continually shifted the goalpost, let us be remembered for implementing measures that combat climate change, address cybersecurity issues, secure the health, safety and security of our people, and protect and preserve our environment. So, as we continue to work together to combat this virus, let us never stop learning and evolving, so that we can thrive no matter the challenge or obstacle that lies ahead.


  • 12 Nov 2021 3:35 PM | Kennedy Maraj (Administrator)

    LINKAGE Q3 (2021) - LEARN, EVOLVE, THRIVE: CELEBRATING 25 YEARS IN HSSE

    CEO's MESSAGE

    By Nirad Tewarie - AMCHAM T&T CEO

    The past twenty months have brought many unprecedented changes to our lives and livelihoods. We have witnessed dreams dashed, businesses forced to close, families ripped apart. This pandemic has created a global humanitarian and economic crisis for which many countries and citizens are paying a hefty price.

    The evolution of humankind has always hinged on the innate ability to learn and evolve, which ultimately allows us to thrive and succeed. Learning has always been essential to our adaptability and survival. Just think of every difficulty or disaster we have faced throughout history: pandemics, natural disasters, world wars, famines, plagues etc. - no matter the obstacle or challenge, learning from our past mistakes and from new situations (even as they are unfolding in real-time) has helped us to evolve and thrive.

    I see no reason why this can’t happen again. While the headlines today are filled with reports of death and destruction, we are also learning many valuable life lessons from the disruptions caused by this pandemic. Lessons that will prove beneficial to help us continue thriving in a post-pandemic era.

    Health and Safety

    The global focus and priority have shifted to human health and safety in a manner never seen before, for example, how we are viewing mental health. No longer is mental health taboo or perceived as a sign of weakness. In different ways, we all acknowledge the impact of the changes and uncertainty of the past two years on each of us.

    When the pandemic hit, companies that had resilient and flexible systems faced the least disruption and were able to continue operations. Moving forward, agility, together with the priority to maintain health and safety in the workplace, will be the basis for productivity, resulting in profits.

    Vaccines remain the most powerful tool against the virus and for our survival. I am hopeful that the hesitancy will wane, and we will get to herd immunity. With cases rising and new strains of the virus emerging, vaccination is the best method available to us at this time to prevent more, unnecessary deaths.

    Environment

    As we continue to grapple with the effects of the pandemic, we cannot ignore the damage to the environment and what this means for the planet’s ability to sustain life. This must be a major priority focus for every nation. The solution ultimately lies in each of us having to do more to reduce our carbon footprint. Meanwhile, the business community as a whole must mainstream carbon and methane reduction strategies in their operations. This won’t happen overnight, but it has to happen more quickly.

    In this issue of LINKAGE (our annual HSSE issue) we touch on all these themes. We look at all that we have learned that has helped us to evolve and most definitely thrive in the midst of so much chaos and confusion. I find it interesting how the articles all touch on the spirit of collaboration, which has been key for the advancement of health and safety processes to protect lives. The many interesting and informative essays in LINKAGE show how leading with HSSE is good both for our citizens and our environment, and we thank the authors who have taken the time to research and write them, and the LINKAGE advertisers who support AMCHAM T&T in our mandate to “add value to our members”.


  • 12 Nov 2021 3:06 PM | Kennedy Maraj (Administrator)

    LINKAGE Q3 (2021) - LEARN, EVOLVE, THRIVE: CELEBRATING 25 YEARS IN HSSE

    AMCHAM T&T DONATES VACCINATION MURAL TO MINISTRY OF EDUCATION

    By AMCHAM T&T Staff Writer

    (l-r) Nirad Tewarie, AMCHAM T&T CEo, Zinnia Li (artist) and Greer Quan, AMCHAM T&T Vice President

    Earlier this year, AMCHAM T&T accepted the request made by the government to the private sector to assist in combatting COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. We saw this as a great opportunity to foster positive engagement and collaboration around a very important issue. We partnered with other private sector organisations to create a campaign that would support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and re-instill confidence in the vaccine.

    While the TTPBA, Advertising Association, TT Chamber and others worked on a traditional campaign, our CEO Nirad Tewarie wanted to play with the idea of using the term "jab" as a metaphor for the COVID-19 vaccine injection in the context of local culture and the association with the freedom of Carnival through the Jab Jab. The process involved developing the "Take The Jab Jab" Campaign, which was brought to life by local graffitti and graphic artist, Zinnia Li.

    Campaign Goals

    The overall goal of this campaign was meant to dispel fears or concerns citizens may have about the vaccine, while removing false information being circulated in the public domain concerning vaccine efficacy, side effects and usage. The first phase focused on awareness building, and the second consisted of vaccine administration through the NAPA Mass Vaccination site, which was organised in partnership with the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce, and in collaboration with the Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries.


    “Take The Jab Jab” Murals

    Zinnia Li painted eleven murals at various locations throughout Trinidad and Tobago, utilising the artwork from the “Take The Jab Jab” campaign. Additionally, Li designed and painted a special mural for the NAPA Mass Vaccination site that showed a slice of Trinidad and Tobago and COVID-19 prevention in a colourful and artistic way. The mural celebrated the togetherness and freedom of our people being vaccinated and looking out for each other.

    Following the closure of the NAPA Vaccination Site, AMCHAM T&T donated the mural from the NAPA Vaccination site to the Ministry of Education (MOE) in a special unveiling ceremony on Friday 15th October, 2021, at the MOE building on St. Vincent Street, Port of Spain.

    Li, who was present for the unveiling ceremony, said she wanted to uplift the spirits of children who were about to get their first jabs. “I did this mural at the NAPA building. It was during the kids' (vaccination) drive and it was really an important thing for me because I saw the kids waiting (for their vaccine shots) and I wanted to give them some entertainment, but I also wanted to do a piece that would reflect the positive effects of social distancing, getting vaccinated, and washing your hands,” Li said.


    Minister of Education Dr. The Hon. Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, who unveiled the mural, thanked AMCHAM T&T for the support administered on the country’s vaccination efforts and described the mural as painting a positive light that highlights how our nation can move forward from COVID-19. “I see life and laughter and energy. Even in the current circumstances, the masks are on, but the energy is undeniable and to me, that speaks volumes. It speaks to our resilience of a people,” Dr. Gadsby-Dolly said. “It speaks to the fact that even in difficult circumstances, Trinidad and Tobago can make it forward.”

    The mural can be viewed in the lobby of the MOE building. AMCHAM T&T would like to thank Dr. Gadsby-Dolly for accepting the donation of the mural on behalf of the Ministry, and artist Zinnia Li for her beautiful work of art.

    Mural painted by artist Zinnia Li can now be viewed in the lobby of the Ministry of Education's head office located at St. Vincent Street, Port of Spain.


  • 12 Nov 2021 2:33 PM | Kennedy Maraj (Administrator)

    LINKAGE Q3 (2021) - LEARN, EVOLVE, THRIVE: CELEBRATING 25 YEARS IN HSSE

    LEGISLATION TO WATCH

    THE TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVENUE AUTHORITY BILL

    by Jeanelle Pran

    In a report published by the Inter-American Development Bank in May 2018, titled “Development Challenges in Trinidad and Tobago”, it was noted, among other things, that some of Trinidad & Tobago’s developmental challenges included civil service management and tax and revenue policies. It is well known that the Board of Inland Revenue (‘BIR’) is the principal tax collection agency in Trinidad & Tobago and that it has faced shortcomings in its ability to collect taxes within specific timeframes. Given that the BIR is a crucial source of income for the Government, its challenges in recovering taxes has a ripple effect on the Government’s ability to finance infrastructural, economic and societal developments.

    There have been attempts in recent years to transform the tax collection system in Trinidad & Tobago in order to ensure more efficiency and transparency. For instance, the Government has signalled an intention to establish a revenue authority to replace the BIR and the Customs and Excise Division. However, despite several attempts to pass the relevant legislation in order to implement this change, the Government has, to date, been unable to do so.

    The following will explore the current status of the legislation and its main features.

    The Trinidad & Tobago Revenue Authority Bill 2018 (the ‘Revenue Authority Bill 2018’)

    The Revenue Authority Bill 2018 was introduced in the House of Representatives on 25th May 2018 and a Joint Select Committee (the ‘Committee’) was established to consider and report on it. The Committee held several meetings and presented various interim reports on the status of its considerations. It also held stakeholder consultations with several entities and received and considered written submissions from key stakeholders, one of which was the Trinidad & Tobago American Chamber of Commerce (‘AMCHAM T&T’).

    In its final report, which was laid in the House of Representatives on 13th May 2019, the Committee recommended that Parliament consider and adopt its proposed amendments to the Revenue Authority Bill 2018. In the circumstances, the Revenue Authority Bill 2018 was withdrawn from the House of Representatives on 27th September 2019 and was introduced in the Senate on 26th November 2019 to reflect the amendments recommended by the Committee. It was passed in the Senate and had its first reading in the House of Representatives on 8th May 2020. However, it lapsed on 3rd July 2020 as a result of the dissolution of Parliament.

    The Trinidad & Tobago Revenue Authority Bill 2021 (the ‘Revenue Authority Bill 2021’)

    On 10th September 2021, the Revenue Authority Bill 2021 was introduced in the Senate and had its first reading in the House of Representatives on 4th October 2021. It seeks to provide for the establishment of the Trinidad & Tobago Revenue Authority (the ‘Revenue Authority’) to replace the existing BIR and Customs and Excise Division and to provide for other related matters. It has not yet been proclaimed and is therefore not yet in force.


    The following will explore the main differences between the Revenue Authority Bill 2018 and the Revenue Authority Bill 2021 and the key features of the latter.

    1. Main Difference Between the Revenue Authority Bill 2018 and the Revenue Authority Bill 2021

    The most notable difference between the Revenue Authority Bill 2018 and the Revenue Authority Bill 2021 are set out below:

    (1) The Revenue Authority Bill 2021 has removed the requirement for a special majority of three-fifths of the members of each House for it to be passed (something which was required in the Authority Bill 2018).

    (2) The Revenue Authority Bill 2021 provides for the establishment of an Enforcement Division and for the Deputy Director General to be responsible for the daily management and direction of the administration of the Enforcement Division.

    2. Key Features of the Revenue Authority Bill 2021

    The main objectives of the Revenue Authority Bill 2021 are to:

    • Provide for the establishment of the Revenue Authority;

    • Provide for the functions and powers of the Revenue Authority;

    • Provide for the establishment of a Board of Management of the Revenue Authority; and

    • Provide for the staffing of the Revenue Authority and various financial provisions for the funds of the Revenue Authority.

    Some of the key features of the Revenue Authority Bill 2021 are set out below.

    (i) Definitions of Important Terms

    Section 3 will provide for certain definitions. For instance, the term ‘public moneys’ has the meaning assigned to it by section 2 of the Exchequer and Audit Act wherein it is defined as:

    i. Revenue; and

    ii. Any trust or other moneys held, whether temporarily or otherwise by an officer in his official capacity either alone or jointly with any other person, whether an officer or not.

    Notably, the Pubic Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act has a more specific definition of the term ‘public money’. It defines it as money:

    i. Received or receivable by a public body;

    ii. Raised by an instrument from which it can be reasonably inferred that the State accepts ultimate liability in the case of default;

    iii. Spent or committed for future expenditure, by a public body;

    iv. Distributed by a public body to a person;

    v. Raised in accordance with a written law, for a public purpose; or

    vi. Appropriated by Parliament.

    AMCHAM T&T had recommended to the Committee, that the definition in the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act be used instead of the definition in the Exchequer and Audit Act. However, this suggestion was not adopted.

    (ii) Establishment of the Revenue Authority

    Section 5 will provide for the establishment of Revenue Authority, which shall be an agent of the State. In essence, the Revenue Authority is intended to replace the BIR and the Customs and Excise Division. The Revenue Authority Bill 2021 provides the following in respect of this replacement:

    • The transferring of any power, duty or function that was vested in the Chairman of the BIR or the Comptroller of Customs and Excise Division by virtue of any written law or contract, lease or other document (section 39(2)).

    • The continuation by or against the Director General of the Revenue Authority of any action, suit or other legal proceeding which the BIR or the Comptroller of Customs and Excise Division is a party that is pending in any court (section 39(3)).

    • A reference in any written law to the Chairman of the BIR or the Comptroller of Customs and Excise Division shall:

    o With respect to the Customs laws, the Excise Act and other revenue laws, be construed as a reference to the Deputy Director General – Enforcement of the Revenue Authority; and

    o With respect to any other matter including the enforcement of revenue laws by means of civil proceedings be construed as a reference to the Director General of the Revenue Authority (section 40(1)(a)).

    • Further reference in any written law to the BIR or the Customs and Excise Division shall be construed as a reference to the Revenue Authority (section 40(1)(b).

    • Assets and liabilities currently vested in the BIR or the Customs and Excise Division will become vested in the Revenue Authority when the Act comes into force, unless otherwise designated by the Minister of Finance (section 37).

    (iii) Functions of the Revenue Authority

    Section 6 will set out the functions of the Revenue Authority, which are as follows:

    • The assessment and collection of taxes under the revenue laws;

    • The administration of the revenue laws;

    • The enforcement of the revenue laws;

    • The enforcement of border control measures subject to any other written law;

    • The provision of revenue collection services to any statutory or other body to collect public monies; and

    • The facilitation of legitimate trade.

    One of the recommendations made by AMCHAM T&T was that the power to appoint a withholding agent be included as a function of the Revenue Authority. However, this has not been included in the Revenue Authority Bill 2021.

    (iv) Establishment and Constitution of the Board of Management of the Revenue Authority

    Section 7 will, among other things, establish a Board of Management and the composition of this entity. It will also set out the circumstances in which members of the Board of Management may be disqualified. For instance, a member may be disqualified if he has been certified by a registered medical practitioner to be medically unfit for duty, which is line with AMCHAM T&T’s recommendation that this section be expanded to include physical incapacity.

    (v) Functions and Powers of the Board of Management

    Section 8 will set out the functions and powers of the Board of Management. In particular, the Board of Management shall be responsible for formulating, approving and ensuring the implementation of management policies in relation to, among other things –

    • The approval and review of the policy of the Revenue Authority;

    • The monitoring of the performance of the Revenue Authority in the carrying out of its functions;

    • The finances, real property and other assets and resources of the Revenue Authority, the securing of contracts, the procurement of goods and services and other administrative activities;

    • Human resources, including those related to recruitment, remuneration, promotion, training and development, performance assessment, conditions of work, discipline, termination of employment and superannuation benefits;

    • Service standards and performance targets;

    • A code of conduct for the employees of the Revenue Authority;

    • The strategic plan, budget and annual report of the Revenue Authority;

    • The mandate for collective bargaining and approving collective agreements in relation to the terms and conditions of employment of persons employed by the Revenue Authority; and

    • Probity in the use and allocation of resources;

    Section 8 will also provide that, in exercising its functions, the Board shall not be responsible for functions of the Revenue Authority and shall not, among other things, provide specific directions to the Director General or other employees of the Revenue Authority relating to the functions of the Revenue Authority.

    It is not clear what would constitute ‘specific directions’ within the meaning of this provision. As AMCHAM T&T had flagged for the Committee, further clarity would be helpful on this point as different sections speak of ‘general directions’ and it is not clear, on the face of it, what the distinction is between the two.

    (vi) Functions of Director General

    Section 14(1) will establish the responsibilities of the Director General of the Revenue Authority. In particular, the Director General shall be responsible for:

    • The daily management and direction of the administration of the Revenue Authority;

    • The daily management and direction of the functions of the Revenue Authority as specified in section 6, including the enforcement of the revenue laws by means of civil proceedings; and

    • Advising the Minister of Finance, on his own initiative or at the request of the Minister, on any matter that could affect public policy or public finances and any other matter that the Minister considers could improve the effectiveness or efficiency of the administration or enforcement of the revenue laws.

    (vii) Functions of the Director General of the Enforcement Division

    Section 14(2) sets out the responsibilities of the Deputy Director General – Enforcement, as follows:

    • The daily management and direction of the administration of the Enforcement Division;

    • The daily management and direction of the enforcement of the Customs laws, the Excise Act and other revenue laws;

    • Advising the Director General on any matter that could affect public policy or public finances; and

    • Advising the Director General on any matter that could improve the effectiveness or efficiency of the administration of the Enforcement Division or the enforcement of the Customs laws, the Excise Act and other revenue laws.

    (viii) Options available to Public Officers

    Section 18 will establish the options available to a public officer who, on the date of coming into force of the Act:

    i. Holds a permanent appointment to; or

    ii. Holds a temporary appointment to, and has served at least two continuous years in,

    an office in the Public Service on the establishment of the Inland Revenue Division or Customs and Excise Division.

    Such an officer may, within three months of the coming into force of the Act or within such extended period as the Minister may (by Order subject to negative resolution of Parliament) allow, exercise one of the following options:

    • Voluntarily retire from the Public Service on terms and conditions agreed between him or his appropriate recognised association and the Chief Personnel Officer;

    • Transfer to the Revenue Authority with the approval of the appropriate Service Commission on terms and conditions which, taken as a whole, are no less favourable than those enjoyed by him in the Public Service;

    • Be appointed on transfer by the Public Service Commission to a suitable public office in the Enforcement Division on terms and conditions which, taken as a whole, are no less favourable than those enjoyed by him in the Public Service on the date of the coming into force of this Act; or

    • Remain in the Public Service provided that an office commensurate with the office held by him in the Public Service prior to the date of the coming into force of this Act, is available.

    (ix) Other features

    Other features of the Revenue Authority Bill 2021 include:

    • The establishment of a pension plan fund within two (2) years of the coming into force of the Act, subject to the power to extend the time for creation by an Order subject to negative resolution (section 22).

    • The payment of superannuation benefits prior to the establishment of the pension fund plan in certain circumstances (section 20).

    • The payment of superannuation benefits by the pension fund plan (section 21).

    • Power of the Revenue Authority, with the approval of the Minister of Finance, to borrow sums required for meeting its obligations (section 24).

    • Power of the Revenue Authority to invest moneys (section 25).

    • Exemption of the Revenue Authority from all taxes of every kind and description including customs duties, corporation tax, VAT, property tax, motor vehicle tax, stamp duty, business levy and green fund levy (section 29).

    The establishment of the Revenue Authority is a step in the right direction towards achieving better tax and revenue policies, which in turn may alleviate the financial, economic and political challenges faced in Trinidad & Tobago. However, in order to have the maximum effect, the issues and shortcomings faced by the BIR and the Customs and Excise Division will need to be properly addressed so that Revenue Authority will not just be a de facto re-branding or name change but will have the tools and resources necessary to improve and enforce the tax collection system in Trinidad & Tobago.

    The information provided in this article does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. All information is provided for general information purposes only. Specific advice should be sought from your Attorney-at-Law on any issues raised herein, if thought necessary.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Jeanelle Pran is an Associate Attorney-at-Law at M. Hamel-Smith & Co.

  • 11 Nov 2021 5:35 PM | Kennedy Maraj (Administrator)

    LINKAGE Q3 (2021) - LEARN, EVOLVE, THRIVE: CELEBRATING 25 YEARS IN HSSE

    SAHARAN DUST

    WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW?

    By Kalain Luke Hosein

    Saharan dust - the hazy-sky, air-quality-reducing nuisance that seems to be with us year-round. Several times a year, increased levels of Saharan dust move across our region, turning our typically blue skies into a dusty and hazy mess.

    The Sahara Desert emits more particles than any other desert globally, and more than half of the dust deposited in the oceans originates in North Africa. This Saharan dust affects the climate: among other things, it blocks or reflects sunlight, and it affects the formation of clouds and hurricanes. It becomes a time of sniffles and coughs for those who have respiratory ailments as the dusty atmosphere affects your day-to-day life.

    However, Saharan dust isn’t all bad, as it provides nutrients for the world’s largest oxygen producers: phytoplankton in the Atlantic Oceans and the Amazon rainforest.

    How does sand from the Sahara Desert make it into the sky?

    Depending on the time of year, Saharan dust is transported by strong winds off North Africa or strong thunderstorms associated with tropical waves across Central and Western Africa.

    The former, called Harmattan Winds, bring mild to moderate dust outbreaks across Trinidad, Tobago, and the remainder of the Lesser Antilles generally from late November through March. Harmattan winds form due to a high-pressure ridge blowing strong winds off the mountain massifs of Northwest Africa and across the Sahara Desert.

    From April through November, strong thunderstorms begin to develop across interior Central Africa and move west. While this type of weather is associated with trade winds and the African monsoon, we also see strong thunderstorms with tropical waves kick up a significant volume of dust, sending it high into the atmosphere.

    The Saharan Air Layer

    Commonly called the SAL, this area of the atmosphere is an extremely hot, dry, and dust-laden layer of air originating over North Africa’s Sahara Desert, extending upwards from the surface for several kilometers.

    Remaining dusty, very dry, and warm, this layer of air is pushed westward by easterly winds or thunderstorms. On reaching the West African coast or the Eastern Atlantic Ocean, it rides over the cooler, moister surface air of the Atlantic Ocean.

    When the SAL reaches the Atlantic Ocean, easterly trade winds carry the dust across lower and mid-levels. Some of it, sometimes high concentrations, is deposited over Trinidad and Tobago and the Southern Caribbean. Generally, Saharan Dust is transported at an altitude of 5,000 and 15,000 feet, but falls to the surface along its journey away from Africa.

    Measuring Saharan Dust


    When Saharan Dust enters the atmosphere, it is quite visible on satellite images as an area of brown or tan where usually white clouds or blue ocean is noted. Scientists have also used special instruments aboard geostationary satellites to detect aerosols in the atmosphere and develop models to track its movements based on other weather features.

    Satellites measure aerosols by how much light can pass through them. A thick layer of aerosols will block the ground from view, while a thin layer allows enough light through to see the ground. The measurement is called aerosol optical thickness. These models can also use aerosol optical depth, which is the degree to which aerosols prevent light transmission by absorption or scattering of light.

    When Saharan Dust begins to move across populated areas where air quality monitoring stations are located, scientists can detect the concentration of particulate matter (PM) in the atmosphere and determine the health of the air through an air quality index (AQI).

    The AQI is an index for reporting daily air quality, and it tells you how clean or polluted your air is and what associated health effects might be a concern for you. The AQI focuses on health effects you may experience within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air. The Air Quality Index is calculated using the five major air pollutants: ground-level ozone, particle pollution (also known as particulate matter), carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide.

    For each of these pollutants, there are established national air quality standards to protect public health worldwide. Generally, particulate matter, specifically PM2.5 and PM10, are the two pollutants that pose the greatest threat to human health in this country due to Saharan dust surges. The national standard for particulate matter of diameter ≤2.5 µm (PM2.5) is 65 µg/m3 and PM of diameter ≤10 µm (PM10) is 75 µg/m3 for Trinidad and Tobago.

    In Trinidad and Tobago, our most significant driver in air quality change is surges of Saharan dust year-round. However, other local features can determine air quality, such as forest/bush fires, chemical fires, waste disposal fires, other effects from landfill areas, traffic congestion, and surface winds (or lack thereof).


    Visit the TT Weather Center website for in-depth information and graphics about the Saharan Dust.

    Most outbreaks in recent years across Trinidad and Tobago are typically moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups. Only a few (one to three) times per year, air quality based on Saharan Dust (PM2.5 and PM10) dip to unhealthy for the general population.

    The Effects of Saharan Dust

    Once Saharan dust is in the air, the main impact tends to be visibility as hazy skies blanket the region. In particularly severe dust events, visibility drops below eight kilometres. During the unprecedented dust event of June 2020, visibility at the Piarco International Airport dropped to 700 meters.

    However, T&T’s population frequently takes to social media to complain about how Saharan dust affects their health. Even in the mildest of surges, health impacts can be observed in susceptible groups. In fact, high concentrations of dust with a diameter of fewer than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5) have been correlated with increases in emergency room admissions for respiratory and cardiovascular disease in North America, Asia, and Europe. The primary health concern associated with Saharan dust is particulate matter, microscopic dust (PM2.5 & PM10), which can sidestep the lungs’ natural defences. These tiny particles can contribute to cardiovascular problems and respiratory diseases such as asthma, especially in children and the elderly.

    The dust particles also serve as a vehicle for the transport of known asthma triggers such as biological materials, including bacteria, viruses, fungal spores, and pollen. It has also been shown to transport various pollutants such as metals and pesticides. Dry skin and cracked lips are also typical symptoms of dense Saharan dust.

    Another major impact of Saharan Dust is on the weather. Generally, Saharan Dust suppresses the formation of clouds and tropical systems. As mentioned earlier, the layer of air Saharan Dust travels across the Atlantic is warm. For clouds to form, air needs to cool as you rise in the atmosphere. This warm and dry layer inhibits clouds and can be detrimental to the development of tropical storms or hurricanes.

    For the Caribbean, lesser hurricanes and tropical cyclones are generally a good by-product of Saharan dust. However, tropical cyclones are necessary transfers of heat from oceans to the atmosphere. Without tropical cyclones, ocean temperatures will increase, bleaching corals and impacting predominant ocean currents, which has many knock-on effects. Additionally, tropical cyclones can deposit a significant amount of rainfall to areas in which freshwater access is limited.

    Perhaps the least impactful but more of a nuisance for vehicle owners would be muddy rainfall. Vehicle owners who just washed their cars before rainfall and during a Saharan dust outbreak would notice this more than anyone. The dust mixes with the rainfall, and when it lands on the surface, it becomes a layer of dust and mud when the dust is particularly thick.

    Saharan dust isn’t all bad. Approximately 400 to 700 million tons of dust are transported from the Sahara annually. This dust plays a crucial role in replenishing nutrients usually leached by rainfall in the Amazon Rainforest. Research has shown that this dust is rich in phosphorus, the primary source of nutrients for the Amazon.

    Staying Safe From Saharan Dust

    For those with respiratory or cardiovascular ailments, before the Saharan dust arrival, you should ensure you have the necessary medication on hand, including rescue inhalers, allergy medication, and eye drops. It is important to ensure people who suffer from these ailments have their medication on hand and consult with their doctor for any additional precautions.

    For the remainder of the population, people may suffer from itchy eyes, sore throat, sinus issues, and dry cough or sneezing, so it is recommended to have medication to treat issues that may arise symptomatically.

    When high concentrations of Saharan dust are present, it is recommended to stay indoors and seal entryways into your home by using mats to prevent dust from entering through doorways and keeping windows, and other openings closed. It is also recommended to use protective eyewear such as goggles or sunglasses outdoors during a high-concentration dust event as dust particles could scrape your cornea when rubbed.

    Stay Masked Up!

    In the age of COVID-19, masks remain mandatory in public spaces. However, even when the mask mandate is lifted, using surgical masks, N95, P95, and P99 masks are the most effective in keeping Saharan Dust particles out of your airways and potentially your bloodstream.

    For those that suffer from congestion, dry cough, and sneezing, doctors recommend creating a more humid environment through a humidifier or inhaling steam as you lean over a container of hot water, taking slow and deep breaths.

    For those that suffer from sore throats, in addition to medication if the case is severe, using two teaspoons of honey can aid in the soothing of your throat.

    Remaining hydrated is also essential. Using fresh aloe gel mixed with fresh citrus juice provides for a great dust remedy. The anti-inflammatory agents can soothe irritation in the throat and nose, especially if you’ve been coughing.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Kalain Luke Hosein is the Weather Anchor at CNC3 Television. He is also the Founder of Trinidad and Tobago Weather Center which is a web-based Geoscience news and media organisation focusing on natural hazards affecting the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and surrounding Caribbean Islands.

  • 10 Nov 2021 6:12 PM | Kennedy Maraj (Administrator)

    LINKAGE Q3 (2021) - LEARN, EVOLVE, THRIVE: CELEBRATING 25 YEARS IN HSSE

    WINNERS OF THE 11TH ANNUAL NATIONAL EXCELLENCE IN HSE AWARDS

    For a second consecutive year, this event had to be held virtually due to the ongoing restrictions caused by the pandemic. Nevertheless, this year saw another record number of companies vying for awards honouring HSE excellence in eleven categories related to the specific size and sector of their respective industries.

    Nestlé Trinidad and Tobago won the coveted National Excellence in HSE award in the Manufacturing Large Company Category for the third straight year at the 11th Annual National Excellence in HSE Awards. The Awards, which have been officially endorsed by the Ministry of Labour since 2011, were announced on the final day of AMCHAM T&T’s 25th Annual HSSE Conference.

    Other big winners included Bristow Caribbean Limited, who copped the same prize in the Services Medium Company Category, while PBS Technologies (Trinidad) Limited was given an

    Honourable Mention

    The award for the Most Improved OSH/Environment Performance went to Weldfab Limited in the Services Sector (Small Company) category.

    At the awards ceremony, AMCHAM T&T CEO Nirad Tewarie said organisations that actively promote a culture of HSE excellence typically reinforce positive influences of health and safety practices and processes well beyond their company. “Today, we are witnessing these knock-on effects that see organisations emphasising high levels of HSE performance in their operations demanding higher standards of HSE performance from their contractors, service providers and support systems,” Tewarie said. “When this happens, it ensures the broadening and deepening of best practices, the continued leadership on health and safety in every aspect of the operations, and the strengthening of the resilience of fenceline communities.”

    High number of applications

    Despite companies having to deal with restricted budgets, reduced investments in projects and other disruptions brought on by the pandemic, Tewarie said the awards have grown and strengthened in stature because of the large number of applications received this year. “I am pleased to see that we were able to match last year's record when we had the largest number of applications for these awards. That’s a strong testament to the level of investment and long-term commitment companies are making towards their employees and customers health, safety, and overall wellbeing,” Tewarie said. “Today, that’s what we hope to reward and acknowledge with these awards. It’s also what we hope we lead with well beyond this pandemic.”

    Callout: The high number of applications this year can be attributed to the heightened awareness and consideration given to health and safety not only in the workplace but throughout society because of the pandemic.

    New Pandemic Award

    Last year, we had introduced the Business Continuity & Surviving the Pandemic (BCP) award, which recognises entities that have sought to manage their business response to the interruptions caused by COVID-19 and have reviewed and updated their business continuity plans to ensure their operational resiliency. Companies vying for this award were judged based on their risk management plans, business impact analysis, incident response plans and recovery plans. This year, Angostura Limited took home the prize in the Manufacturing Large Company Category, while PBS Technologies (Trinidad) Limited won in the Medium Size Company Category and the National Energy Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago won in the Small Size Company Category.

    Below is the complete list of WINNERS at the 11th Annual National Excellence in HSE Awards.

    COMPLETE LIST OF WINNERS OF
    AMCHAM T&T’S 11TH ANNUAL NATIONAL EXCELLENCE IN HSE AWARDS 2021:

    (Company Size Categories were determined according to the Ministry of Labour guidelines and specifications.)

    Outstanding OSH/Environment Project 2021

    Awards criteria: This award recognises companies engaged in a significant project, or “first steps”, on the journey towards achieving HSE excellence. It goes to companies that demonstrate that their projects entailed the implementation of several of the key elements of formal HSE management systems, i.e. elements of planning, risk management, implementation or execution, monitoring and measurement, handling nonconformities, and/or continual improvement; addressed systems for building a positive HSE organisational culture; and contributed to overall positive occupational safety and health and/or environmental results.

    ·        Outstanding OSH/Environment Project in the Energy Sector (Large Company Category) - bpTT

    ·        Outstanding OSH/Environment Project in the Services Sector (Medium Company Category) - PBS Technologies (Trinidad) Limited

    ·        Outstanding OSH/Environment Project in the Services Sector (Small Company Category) - Ramps Logistics

    ·        Outstanding OSH/Environment Project in the Energy Sector (Small Company Category) - Trinidad Offshore Fabricators (TOFCO) (Honourable mention)


    Most Improved HSE Performance Award 2021

    Awards criteria: This award recognises companies that have achieved significant improvements in the management of occupational health and safety and environmental management. It seeks to encourage companies to successfully establish, implement and maintain HSE management systems to achieve a full systems approach to HSE management.

    ·        Most Improved OSH/Environment Performance in the Services Sector (Small Company Category) - Weldfab Limited

     

    Business Continuity and Surviving the Pandemic (BCP) Award 2021

    Awards criteria: This award recognises the excellent job that companies have done in managing their business response to the interruptions caused by COVID-19 to ensure operational resiliency. Companies are judged and awarded for having implemented a strong risk management plan, business impact analysis, incident response plan and recovery plan.

    ·        Business Continuity & Surviving the Pandemic (BCP) in the Manufacturing Sector (Large Company Category) - Angostura Limited

    ·        Business Continuity & Surviving the Pandemic (BCP) in the Services Sector (Medium Company Category) - PBS Technologies (Trinidad) Limited

    ·        Business Continuity & Surviving the Pandemic (BCP) in the Energy Sector (Small Company Category) - National Energy Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago


    Excellence in HSE Award 2020

    Awards criteria: This is our premier award, honouring companies that have established strong HSE management systems AND has achieved excellent occupational health and safety, and environmental results. The awardees serve as a paragon of HSE excellence in practice and will go on to share their success stories with other AMCHAM T&T members and beyond, demonstrating that impeccable occupational safety and health as well as environmental performance records can be achieved and maintained over years, and all companies can learn best practices and how to overcome the practical challenges.

    ·        Excellent HSE Performance in the Services Sector (Medium Company Category) - BRISTOW Caribbean Limited

    ·        Excellent HSE Performance in the Manufacturing Sector (Large Company Category) - Nestlé Trinidad and Tobago Limited

    ·        Excellent HSE Performance in the Services Sector (Medium Company Category) - PBS Technologies (Trinidad) Limited (Honourable Mention)


    AMCHAM T&T would like to congratulate all winners of the National HSE Awards 2021 and thank them for the leadership they have shown towards achieving HSE excellence in their safety measures and overall business operations. We would like to thank title sponsor BHP for their unwavering support since the inception of these awards. We also extend our sincere gratitude to the HSE Awards Committee and the judges for conducting the virtual walkthroughs and interviews with employees and management of all companies that participated this year in the National HSE Awards 2021.

    Through the National Excellence in HSE Awards and the Annual HSSE Conference and Exhibition, AMCHAM T&T continues to uphold and promote HSSE excellence as a key performance indicator towards business success and ensuring the safety and protection of all employees and citizens of our nation.








    The National Excellence In HSE Awards is sponsored by BHP

  • 10 Nov 2021 8:29 AM | Kennedy Maraj (Administrator)

    LINKAGE Q3 (2021) - LEARN, EVOLVE, THRIVE: CELEBRATNG 25 YEARS IN HSSE

    CEO's PERSPECTIVE

    RONALD ADAMS - ATLANTIC LNG

    We all continue to experience the massive transformation in our everyday lives that has been accelerated by the global pandemic.

    From blended work-from-home arrangements and their impact on the day-to-day activities of families; to new consciousness about mental health; to global shortages of key resources such as lumber, rubber and silicon chips—all spheres of life have undergone significant disruption. In global business, boundary lines that previously governed competition, supply chains and on-the-job performance have been radically redrawn. Companies big and small face an almost daily imperative to reinvent themselves for a new landscape.

    As business leaders, we therefore face a tremendous new challenge. We must dig deep inside ourselves to find resources that help us inspire the hearts and minds of those whom we must lead through disruptive change.

    As the CEO of Atlantic, in a time of new dynamics in our own business of LNG production, I’m constantly reminded of the powerful relationship between change and leadership. To my mind, in this epoch of history in which we find ourselves, the scale of change required in our companies and even in our country cannot be achieved successfully without Transformational Leadership.

    The North Star Vision

    Transformational leadership galvanises and empowers individuals to embrace and pursue a singular, compelling vision. The leader is the primary champion and exemplar of the vision and has an unrelenting focus on helping to harmonise agendas and build collaboration in service of the organisation’s broader, over-arching goals.

    Throughout my twenty-nine years of experience in the energy sector, I have been privileged to lead several teams and organisations through times of transformation. I am driven by the idea of meeting something in one state and moving it to a state where it is considered better.

    As transformational leaders, our role is to lay out the vision as truthfully and impactful as we are able, giving our employees and stakeholders a north star to which they can navigate. I believe that a singular, well-articulated direction motivates people of diverse agendas to rise above their differences and journey together towards a common destination.

    Some Success Principles

    My experiences have taught me some leadership principles that help this process.

    First is the need to understand your business and what it takes to compete in that business. This doesn’t apply only to the CEO. Every employee should deeply understand their company’s business. There should also be widespread appreciation for the value of everyone’s role.

    &quot;Transformational Change Takes Transformational Leadership&quot;

    I learned this at the first company that I led, the local subsidiary of a global chemical company. I helped guide the company from its original focus on sales, into a new culture of greater connectivity with our customers and their business. This shift required employees to develop deeper technical acumen and to be au courant with how we facilitated the business of our customers.

    A second principle is to understand your organisation’s current position. From a place of truth, identify the gaps between your status quo and the new position demanded by the future. Devise a plan to close the gaps—but be mindful of the third principle: build a strong, collaborative leadership team. This team will help you sow the vision and drive execution of the plan.

    Keep Focused

    A fourth principle is to encourage people to focus on the areas of our operation that are under our control. We must be highly aware of exogenous factors, which are often outside our influence, but they must not daunt us into inaction. We must identify the things which we can control and work on, and improve performance in those areas.

    This principle was a key lesson from my days at an offshore exploration and production company, an environment with several stakeholders with various interests. I had to learn how to guide people to keep focused on what was best for the entire organisation.

    LNG and the Global Energy Transition

    In the business that I now lead, the global energy transition is a major external force. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has described the transition as the “pathway towards transformation of the global energy sector from fossil-based to zero-carbon by the second half of this century.”

    LNG—as the cleanest fossil-fuel—will play a key role in the transition, as its market performance continues to demonstrate. In 2020, despite the pandemic and its effect on the global economy, global LNG demand increased from 358 million tonnes (MT) to 360 MT, with further growth to seven-hundred MT expected by 2040. This underscores the industry’s resilience and LNG’s critical relevance to Trinidad and Tobago during this time of global challenge.

    The Transformation Imperative

    For Atlantic, this means embarking on a new chapter of our journey of transformation into an agile, competitive and sustainable company that is relevant and responsive to the global energy business in transition. In no other chapter of our company’s history has there been such an intensive transformation imperative.

    There are some factors outside our control—such as gas supply shortfall. Gas supply is not forecast to improve significantly before the latter half of the decade, so until then, we must pay attention to what we can control in the meantime: our facility reliability, and availability. We will continue to enhance our energy efficiency and pursue performance excellence in the relevant global industry benchmarks. Technology will be a key strategic enabler, helping all areas of our business achieve sustained global-class performance.

    Health and Safety

    HSSE will remain of utmost importance. It is a core pillar in Atlantic’s operations and if anything, our pandemic response has helped to heighten our HSSE focus. We have buttressed even more the systems of care and protection for our employees and service providers. This of course extends to those aspects of psychological health, overall well-being and work-life balance that have become so poignant in the current circumstances facing workers across the world.

    Environment and Sustainability

    As part of our responsibility to future generations, Atlantic will contribute wherever we are able to, the national initiative to reduce Trinidad and Tobago’s carbon footprint. We will continue to invest in the next generations via our Sustainability programmes at the community and national levels. Our several initiatives in youth development via education, sports, life and professional skills training are geared to leverage present-day resources to help unlock future potential. Our other programmes in entrepreneurial development, financing of MSMEs in the Southwest Peninsula and agricultural business development, partner indirectly with the national effort to build economic diversification.

    Greatest Strengths

    Our greatest strengths on our journey are our team of dedicated and talented professionals and the strong backbone of support provided by our extended leadership team. I am grateful to be leading this complement of innovative and industrious people and I commit to fulfil my own role as a transformational leader.

    For all of us, in our companies, and in wider Trinidad and Tobago, there is a new obligation to work together. Only through collaboration and shared objectives can we unearth new strategies and processes, and achieve the type of transformation that will help us sustain momentum and attain further success in the new competitive landscape.


  • 10 Nov 2021 12:30 AM | Kennedy Maraj (Administrator)

    LINKAGE Q3 (2021) - LEARN, EVOLVE, THRIVE: CELEBRATING 25 YEARS IN HSSE

    MEET OUR NEW MEMBERS


    Optometrists Today


    Optometrists Today is a leading eye care provider in Trinidad and Tobago, taking pride in making the health of our patients’ eyes our utmost priority. Over the past 32 years, we have remained at the forefront of technology in the optics industry, streamlining our operations to offer expert, professional eye care solutions and services to our patients at our 9 practices across the country.

    We boast an unparalleled complement of internationally and locally trained and certified optometrists and dispensing opticians, who are equipped to detect and diagnose a myriad of conditions and prescribe the most suitable and beneficial products to all of our patients. Furthermore, we offer the widest range of spectacle frames, designer eyewear, sunglasses, safety eyewear and contact lenses on the local market.

    Simply Cloud Solutions Limited

    Established since February 2019, Simply Cloud Solutions Limited is an innovative local hybrid cloud computing service provider and virtual datacentre, aiming to be the leader in the hybrid cloud computing industry. With its ability to have a global reach, and simultaneously have a local focus, Simply Cloud Solutions stands out in the market, introducing a unique set of cloud services for public and private sector which allow businesses to transform their private (on-location) cloud and public (off-location) cloud to a hybrid cloud, utilising our datacentre services.

    Our advanced technology strategy provides extremely cost-effective customised leasing, customer support, updates, security and disaster recovery of virtual infrastructure systems; in partnership with two main datacenters outside of the hurricane belt:

    o Informatics Engineering Tier III Datacenter - Trinidad and Tobago, and

    o Blue Nap of the Americas Tier IV Datacenter – Curaçao

    Among our strategic partnership network, we are aligned with five accredited vendors cited by Gartner as first class and seamless in design: Nutanix, Veeam, Microsoft, Mellanox and Fortinet. We have corporate operations in Port of Spain and our first client, which has been recently established, is a large-size organization (250+ employees).


    Kall Co Limited

    Kall Co Ltd aims to be a leader in providing value-added construction and general civil works to our customers by creating a successful partnership with them throughout project life cycle.

    Our pledge is to establish lasting relationships with our customers by exceeding their expectations and gaining their trust through exceptional performance by every member of the professional team.

    With headquarters located in St. Helena, Trinidad and Tobago, Kall Co provides superior services within the construction industry. Our goal is to offer outstanding customer service, increased flexibility and greater value, thus optimising system functionality and improving operation efficiency.

    Our associates are distinguished by their functional and technical expertise combined with their hands-on experience, ensuring that our clients receive the most effective and professional service.

    Since inception, Kall Co has grown tremendously and strives to deliver its projects within the constraints of quality, time and budget.

    Export-Import Bank of Trinidad and Tobago Ltd (EXIMBANK)

    We are EXIMBANK, the only official Export Credit Agency (ECA) in Trinidad and Tobago. We are the preferred option for export financing with a core focus on developing the export potential of Trinidad and Tobago as a mechanism to diversify the economy and increase non-energy FX earnings. Our exclusive focus on and expertise with export financing, willingness and know-how, all reflect our belief that expanding Trinidad and Tobago’s exports can be achieved. Our conviction is that with the right support, financing products and mechanisms, Trinidad and Tobago can do more.

    EXIMBANK is powering exports to develop and expand Trinidad and Tobago’s export capacity.

    A.M. MARKETING COMPANY LIMITED


    Over the past four decades, A.M. Marketing Company Limited has grown steadily and has strongly positioned itself as a leader in the automotive industry in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean.

    In 1984, the company began its commitment in filling the urgent demand for automotive parts and services regionally. The business has been built on excellent service, customer satisfaction and high-quality products. These are the core values that are held at A.M. Marketing Company Limited.

    The company is considered to be a full-service provider of automotive parts. It is the sole agent and distributor for leading brands such as Sakura Filters, Daishin Disc-Brake Pads, Yuasa Batteries, Nexen Tyres and WAXCO Car Care Products.

    One of its greatest assets is its extensive international network. It is able to source and negotiate the best prices for high quality products from leading manufacturers in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, South Korea, The United Arab Emirates and the U.S.A.

    In recent years, the company has evolved into a group of various companies, expanding into the construction and manufacturing industries with Blueprint Building Systems Ltd. and Total Housing Ltd. A.M. Marketing Company Limited has withstood the test of time with innovation and continuous development of its range of products and services.

    Nio Digital Limited

    Nio is a digital business platform for medium-sized businesses.

    Nio provides modern, easy to use apps for all aspects of your business - CRM (e-commerce, sales and marketing), HRM (talent and workforce), ERP (service, operations and finance) and MRP (manufacturing & maintenance) all on a secure, integrated cloud platform.

    By combining consulting, onboarding and 24/7 support with a predictable monthly subscription service; Nio is a complete solution to your digital transformation needs.

    We want to help Trinidad and Tobago businesses get online.

    Digital transformation or digitalisation is all about getting all of your employees and processes online with your business digitally connected to your customers, partners and supply chain.

    Nio is cloud-based, so its ready to adopt without needing any additional hardware as it runs on any computer, tablet or smartphone.

    Nio is presently running an early adopter programme and is seeking progressive members who may wish to be leaders in the emerging digital economy.

    EAGLE SHIPPING AGENCY & LOGISTICS SERVICES LTD


    We are a shipping agency with an alliance of highly trained and experienced team within the shipping industry and oil & gas. Our aim is to expand business opportunities and offer better value through preferential service. We specialise in freight consolidation and strong knowledge of agency services performing duties of the running of the various ports and the Pointe-a-Pierre system as well as building strong relationships within the various arms of local government such as Immigration and Customs Authorities, which fortifies the service that Eagle can offer.

    With a holistic perspective of the industry, the client can be assured of the quality of service. Eagle's mission is to get the job done safely every time, efficiently, effectively and promptly to the customer's satisfaction at the most economic cost. Eagle's vision is to provide an excellent service such as LCL, FCL and airfreight cargo along with added value services such as warehousing, brokerage and multi modal transport. Eagle Shipping has a vast experience in handling all the logistics for project cargo. We pride ourselves in being a highly efficient organisation, understanding the fast-paced environment.

    Heritage Petroleum Company Ltd.

    Trinidad & Tobago’s newest State-owned oil and gas company, incorporated in 2018, aims to focus on exploration, development, production and marketing of crude oil with a mandate to provide maximum financial returns for the country’s energy reserves. Our operations are primarily located in southern Trinidad and Tobago, with non-operated assets off Trinidad’s north and east coasts. Our intent is to be a leading producer and supplier of crude oil, structured to deliver responsibly and safely to our customers. We understand that those who innovate succeed, so we will continually invest in the best people and ideas.

    OUR vision is to be a source of pride for Trinidad and Tobago by focusing on profitability, operational excellence and world class talent as a performance driven oil and gas company.


  • 10 Nov 2021 12:11 AM | Kennedy Maraj (Administrator)

    LINKAGE Q3 (2021) - LEARN, EVOLVE, THRIVE: CELEBRATING 25 YEARS IN HSSE

    COMBATTING CYBER THREATS 

    BMOBILE BUSINESS TEAMS UP WITH FORTINET - WORLD LEADER IN CYBER SECURITY

    By: Bmobile Trinidad and Tobago

    According to Fortinet’s latest semi-annual FortiGuard Labs Global Threat Landscape Report, “2020 witnessed a dramatic cyber threat landscape from beginning to end. Although the pandemic played a central role, as the year progressed, cyber adversaries evolved attacks with increasingly disruptive outcomes. They maximised the expanded digital attack surface beyond the core network to target remote work or learning and the digital supply chain.”

    Cyber security risk has never been greater, as everything is now interconnected in a larger digital environment. Integrated and AI-driven platform approaches, powered by actionable threat intelligence, are vital to defend across all elements of the network and to identify and remediate threats that organisations face today in real time.

    As companies and government agencies confront greater cyber security risks in 2021, bmobile business has teamed up with Fortinet, the number one cyber security provider in the world, to provide its corporate and government customers the latest and most innovative suite of cybersecurity offerings. The arrangement also makes available both companies’ technical expertise, consultancy and SOC (Security Operations Centre) services.

    Darryl Duke, General Manager Enterprise Services (Ag.) at TSTT, believes that it is critical for bmobile business to provide these types of services to customers, especially since there has been an exponential growth in online, web-based and cloud services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “This growth is set to continue as businesses and governments adjust to entirely new ways of engaging their clients and the public. With this new arrangement, we can now offer a concise set of ICT services inclusive of our certified cloud platform for a total end-to-end managed solution.”

     Daryl Duke, General Manager Enterprise Services (Ag.) at TSTT

    Duke said joining forces with Fortinet has positioned bmobile to support the company’s corporate and public service clients in their digital transformation strategy which will ultimately make a positive difference in the lives of citizens and customers in Trinidad and Tobago.

    WHO EXACTLY IS FORTINET?

    Fortinet is a global leader in network and cyber security with over twenty years of experience in the industry, some nine thousand employees and over 530,000 customers worldwide. Fortinet has been recognised by Gartner as a leader in many technologies, including Enterprise firewall, WAN infrastructure and networking. The company is also regarded as a visionary in security incident and event management, and a game changer in wired and wireless LAN infrastructure. In recognition of its outstanding performance in 2020, Fortinet was recently named a Google Cloud Technology Partner of the Year for Security and a Microsoft Commercial Marketplace Partner of the Year.

    At the official launch of which focused on the theme “Embedding Cybersecurity into Government Digital Transformation Strategy”, Fortinet’s Jim Richberg, Public Sector Field Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and VP of Information Security, commented on how mid-sized organisations are seeing the future as the world emerges from the pandemic. Citing a survey conducted in late 2021, Richberg said, “The office of the future is not going to look like the offices we left in March 2020.” The survey forecasts a continuation of hybrid work patterns with most companies likely to let a significant number of employees continue to work remotely for at least part of the week because most employees want this, and productivity has in fact risen.

     

    Jim Richberg, Public Sector Field Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
    and VP of Information Security, Fortinet

    Richberg also noted that telework would be an ongoing issue with organisations looking to supply cloud-based IT support at anytime and anywhere, and deepening their use of smart operational technology and robotic process automation to augment work force.

    DIGITAL FRANKENSTEINS

    On the emergence of digital Frankensteins —with the hybridisation of cyber threats creating more malicious and harder to defend attacks—Richberg admits that organisations find it very difficult to respond effectively to these threats. He says this is in large part due to the growth in the number of attacks, the expansion of network vulnerabilities from remote workforces, the serious shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals (such as cloud architects, network engineers and security architects) and also because of data and solutions overload.

    Fortinet’s solution to these challenges, Richberg says, is to “instrument the key parts of the attack surface with devices that are both sensors and controls, i.e., produce a security platform or fabric.”

    The Fortinet security platform leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to dynamically generate threat intelligence, identify at-risk activity and block unknown risks. The breadth of AI/ML in cybersecurity covers Anti-malware, Web Filtering, Web App Security (monitors application interactions), UEBA (collects data access activity across the company and detects anomalies) and Sandbox (examines file at the organisation, combining static and behavioural analysis).

    Richberg noted that just a few months ago, Fortinet launched a new service, Security Operations Centre (SOC) . This is Fortinet’s 24/7 command centre for monitoring the cyber security activities within a customer environment. This may include everything from the business’ websites, databases and servers, to applications, networks, desktops, data centres and a variety of endpoints. If there is a breach within the managed endpoints, the SOC will activate a pre-defined set of "playbooks" to reduce the impact of the breach.

    The Fortinet security fabric defence along with the suite of services available in the bmobile business cloud, can provide the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and all its stakeholders as well as corporate T&T, the confidence to pursue and achieve digital transformation, which is a pre-requisite to T&T achieving a high and sustainable standard of living for its citizens.


  • 9 Nov 2021 11:55 PM | Kennedy Maraj (Administrator)

    LINKAGE Q3 (2021) - LEARN, EVOLVE, THRIVE: CELEBRATING 25 YEARS IN HSSE

    GET YOUR EQUIPMENT CERTIFICATION!

    ENSURING A SAFE TELECOMMUNICATIONS ENVIRONMENT IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

    By The Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago

    A drone for Harry, walkie-talkies for the twins… hmm…what else? This year I’m tackling my Christmas list early!

    STOP! You will need equipment certification to import some of those items!

    Call the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) to find out if the equipment you want to import is certified for use here and whether you need to apply for your equipment certification before your item arrives in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T).

    All radio communications equipment imported for use in T&T must meet the appropriate standards in order to be certified for use in this country. TATT has also established standards for telecommunications and broadcasting equipment to ensure the health and safety of the people of our country.

    That is why every importer of telecommunications devices must apply for equipment certification before the device can be cleared at customs.

    Section 18(1)(d) of the Telecommunications Act, Chap 47:31 (“the Act”) gives TATT the responsibility to establish national telecommunications industry standards and technical standards. The Act also makes TATT responsible for testing and certifying telecommunications equipment, to ensure compliance with:

    i. international standards; and

    ii. environmental health and safety standards, including electromagnetic radiation and emissions.

    Applying for equipment certification is at no cost, whether you are an individual importing items for home use or a business importing for sale or its business use.

    RADIOFREQUENCY EMISSIONS

    Another key area for which TATT establishes standards, is for radiofrequency emissions, whether it is from equipment in daily use or for telecommunications network equipment like cell sites.

    Twelve years ago, TATT took comprehensive steps to ensure that radiofrequency emissions in this country were at a minimum and well below internationally recognised safety limits.

    Today, even with advancing technologies, TATT maintains its position of ensuring internationally acceptable safe standards in T&T. This is in fulfilment of its mandates of (1) orderly development of the Telecommunications and Broadcasting sectors and (2) protecting the interest of consumers.

    The radiofrequency standards adopted in T&T conform closely to those mandated by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) for use in the United States of America, which are themselves consistent with the standards proposed by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (“ICNIRP”) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (“IEEE”).

    TATT has also taken steps to periodically measure the emissions from every cell tower in existence since November 2008. The emission levels from such sites continue to be well below the safety limits established.

    Details about the maximum permissible exposure limits for radiofrequency radiation (RFR) that can be emitted by all forms of telecommunications equipment in T&T are available on TATT’s website (www.tatt.org.tt) along with the RFR test results.

    STANDARD SETTING FOR PHONES AND BROADCASTING

    Other than these two areas, TATT also establishes standards for the provision of public telecommunications networks and services, such as fixed and mobile services, including the quality of services provided to customers in T&T. These form part of the obligations in the authorisation to operate (concession) of every service provider.

    Similar standards exist for the provision of broadcasting services.

    The standards established by TATT for local infrastructure are especially significant in times of disaster, as they are the conduits through which at-risk individuals and communities receive critical information before, during and after disasters.

    In times of crisis, the need for telecommunications and broadcasting services escalate and there is hard evidence in support of this. TATT’s Annual Market report for 2020, records growth in the fixed and mobile Internet markets. These were the only two markets in 2020 recording growth in subscription figures. Subscriptions within the fixed Internet market rose to 376,800 – an increase of 37,400, or 11%, from 2019. Mobile Internet subscriptions grew by 17.9% from 2019, to register a total of 770,200. It will not be unreasonable to deduce the uptake in Internet subscriptions was attributed to more persons acquiring this technology to facilitate remote work and online school.

    TATT remains committed to ensuring a safe telecommunications environment in Trinidad and Tobago: Standardising, Certifying and Monitoring.


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