It is clear that the Minister of Finance attempted to balance several considerations in the 2023 budget. We also think it prudent that an attempt is being made to contain expenditure. In our opinion, the budgeted gas price is reasonable in the current climate.
We welcome reductions in the tax rates designed to stimulate upstream oil and gas production. In addition, the reduction in taxes for FinTechs and the Financial Services hub are laudable initiatives. AMCHAM T&T looks forward to the operationalization of the SEZ legislation as a means of encouraging additional investment. We eagerly await the rollout of the Developers’ Hub and applaud the effort to develop software as a service for the Government sector. This software also has the potential to be exported and the Hub could incubate smaller technology companies. The identification of specific initiatives to support the transition to a cashless society and to remove the friction of transacting business with the Government are also likely to have a positive impact.
We are also anxious to see the results of the implementation of the restructuring of operations in the water and sewerage sector. Apprenticeships and vocational training as well as support for remediation in early high school life of students as we prepare our young people for the new economy are important and we support these measures.
AMCHAM T&T also welcomes the announcement that the National Statistical Institute legislation will be brought to Parliament and we encourage bi-partisan collaboration as accurate and timely data is necessary for effective planning for national development.
AMCHAM T&T is also pleased that the Government would be implementing feed-in tariffs and is moving towards implementing a renewable energy policy - we believe this would not only reduce demands for the scarce natural gas to generate electricity, but the renewable energy policy would assist us in reaching our Paris agreement targets. We would like to hear concrete timelines for these during the budget debate.
We are however disappointed by the lack of broad transformative initiatives. We expected the Minister to report on the outcomes of previous announcements and give clearer timelines for the implementation of new and repeated announcements such as the data interoperability framework, open data implementation and unique national identifier. We hope that there will be more specific announcements by line Ministers during the debate.
The outlook for increased production in the Energy sector in the short term is still uncertain. The stabilization of the economy remains precarious. Cross-cutting measures to improve the ease of doing business require further articulation. In particular, we are disappointed that there was no emphasis on Customs reform and digitization of the trade facilitation process.
AMCHAM T&T stands ready and able to collaborate with all stakeholders on matters of national development.
For further questions or comments please contact: Nirad Tewarie, CEO AMCHAM T&T at email@example.com.
AMCHAM T&T successfully completed the first Breakbeatcode Virtual Summer Camp with twenty-three (23) students between the ages of twelve (12) and seventeen (17) on August 27th, 2022.
Breakbeatcode was first introduced to students in 2021 by AMCHAM T&T through a series of hackathons. It is an initiative that introduces young people in various communities across the globe to learn how to code through beat-making and music creation. The initiative is a 20% time project introduced by Google that empowers its employees to spend one day of their workweek, or 20 percent of their time, on a side project of their choosing.
Due to the overwhelming success of last year’s hackathon, AMCHAM T&T partnered once more with the Breakbeatcode team to bring this initiative to our nation’s youths. Thirty-eight (38) students participated in another hackathon held earlier this year which led to the idea of a virtual camp to provide more extensive learning around coding and music concepts. The goal of the camp is to provide increased opportunities to unlock the talents and skills of our young people and create the next generation of artist engineers, tech entrepreneurs, and business leaders.
“I am very proud of the students who participated in this year’s summer camp,” said Nirad Tewarie, AMCHAM T&T CEO. “It’s also very rewarding to see the continued success of this initiative. Learning to code and having programming skills will expose our young people and give them options to a world of better and more fulfilling opportunities later in life.”
“Empowering our population with new skill sets involving technology will create even greater economic opportunities for our citizens. It will also help our nation to move one step closer to firmly establishing ourselves as the premier Tech Hub in the region – which will have a major impact on reducing inequalities while enhancing social mobility for many persons in our society,” Tewarie said.
The camp was facilitated by Music Producer/Artiste Simeon Moore who is also an ICT Technologist at The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute. Also, accompanying him on this initiative were six (6) assistant coaches from the NGO: Restore a Sense of I Can. The six-week virtual summer camp offered students in-depth lessons on coding concepts such as “variables,” “functions,” “while loop” etc. as well as music theory concepts on beats, measures, tempo, repetition, effects etc. Putting this knowledge together, the students worked with their coaches to develop and produce beats for different genres including trap, reggaeton, rock and pop.
Meanwhile, Moore said the Breakbeatcode Virtual Summer Camp was nothing short of excellent and encourage more students to explore coding and music production through the Breakbeatcode programme. “From working with the teams at AMCHAM T&T and Google to interacting with the brilliant students who were excited to learn - it was amazing to experience.”
“As an avid ICT proponent who desires to see Trinidad & Tobago develop more technologically, and also as a music producer that desires to see the local music industry flourish more - this camp was such an encouragement as it facilitated forward movement on both paths by equipping the next generation with coding and music production skills,” Moore said.
Calvin Pinney, a Chrome Enterprise Specialist from Google Cloud who played a major part in bringing Breakbeatcode to Trinidad and Tobago, said the students can now call themselves “Artist Engineers” having learnt how to put the two sets of skills together to produce music. “The cool thing about this program is that now you can officially call yourself an artist engineer,” Pinney said. “So, I hope we could just continue building upon what we learned today and stay plugged in with the group here. There are some other things that you can learn such as web design development, cloud computing, data analytics, business intelligence, and python, which is a scripting language where you can do so many cool things beyond making beats.”
At the camp’s closing ceremony, Pinney also reminded the students that opportunities are limitless because of technology. “I want you to think about how you can take this a step further. Just use the imagination.” Pinney said. “Some of the skills that you learn today, somebody here today could create the next Google. You know, why can't it be out of Trinidad Tobago?”
AMCHAM T&T would like to thank the teams from Breakbeatcode, CARIRI and Restore A Sense of I Can for their support for the Virtual Summer Camp and we look forward to hosting future sessions to accommodate more students through the Breakbeatcode initiative. For more information on Breakbeatcode, interested persons can contact Ms Rey-Anne Paynter-Mendez, Tech Community and Project Officer at AMCHAM T&T at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM T&T) will be hosting the workshop session: “Women in the Lead: Mindful Leadership in a Transformative World” with Dr Shelly-Ann Gadjadhar, on August 18th, 2022, during this year’s Women in Leadership Mentorship Programme (WILMP) – hosted by AMCHAM T&T and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
Now in its 5th year, WILMP will feature forty (40) mentees working in various fields across the private sector who are paired with mentors aligned to their career goals. The WILMP will once more serve as an important platform to drive female leadership in industry and commerce in Trinidad and Tobago and ensure overall economic growth. It also reaffirms AMCHAM T&T’s commitment to empowering women and promoting gender parity and women’s leadership in business and society.
AMCHAM T&T President, Toni Sirju-Ramnarine says the focus of the Mentorship Programme is aimed at providing solutions to the many barriers preventing women from progressing in society. “The goal should always be to remove these existing barriers with more opportunities so that we are empowering both women and men,” Sirju-Ramnarine said. “At AMCHAM T&T, we believe a diverse workplace and society brings about better outcomes for everyone. Ultimately, this is what we are hoping to both inspire and achieve with this Mentorship Programme.”
The AMCHAM T&T/IDB Mentorship programme will provide a platform that allows women to develop leadership skills, increase self-confidence, build social capital, and take ownership of their own personal and professional development. Sirju-Ramnarine says women can achieve these goals by seeking each other’s interests through reinforcing greater collaboration to eliminate the competition that pits women against each other, and by extension, all women against men.
“That’s why we hope to see more companies investing in mentorship programmes to foster greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace, strengthen company culture, and improve employee engagement.” Companies that invest in mentorship will see the benefits of higher productivity, fewer turnover rates, better succession planning, and increase profits. “Ultimately, it comes down to doing the right thing!” she said.
Carina Cockburn, Country Manager of the IDB says the mentorship journey will help women find common ground with their male counterparts as they learn and grow in organizational spaces. “Remember that the workplace in which we engage every day has added value because of our presence,” Cockburn said. “By helping each other, we can share the responsibility we have to fulfil our own potential and to act as torchbearers for the women who will follow.”
“The Inter-American Development Bank’s collaboration with AMCHAM T&T to host this mentoring programme is representative of this ethos and is also consistent with our developmental priorities for T&T and the Caribbean. Indeed, I am proud to work for an organization which supports gender diversity and promotes equality and balance in leadership and decision making.”
Meanwhile, Dr Gadjadhar who is an Educator, Attorney and the CEO & Founder of her own coaching and consultancy company, Alphastute Limited says teaching women about leadership is a great pathway to helping women see themselves as impactful and providing them with the knowledge and sovereignty to choose the type of leader they want to be. “Many women persistently feel like they need to adhere to the ‘follow the leader’ blueprint, and in a transformative world with more agile ways of working, women are having a more powerful say about what it means to lead both professionally and personally,” Dr Gadjadhar said. “It is this sovereignty of embarking on a personal leadership journey that is disrupting boardrooms and creating waves of change across industries and sectors.”
Speaking on the benefits of the “Women in the Lead: Mindful Leadership in a Transformative World” session, she says it will challenge women to identify ways to create a strong leadership legacy that is timeless in a transformative world and provide a clearer understanding of one’s leadership blueprint and how they can mindfully include others on the journey.
The Women in Leadership Mentorship Programme has been running from June and will continue through November 2022. Mentorship opportunities are being offered to women across all sectors and industries, including, Science & Mathematics, Technology, Engineering and Economics, Occupational Health and Safety etc.
For more information on the program, please visit our website or contact Kennedy Everett Maraj, AMCHAM T&T’s Communications & Events Officer @email@example.com.
AMCHAM T&T would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family of former U.S. Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago Joseph Mondello.
Mr. Mondello, who passed away on Monday afternoon at the age of 84, served as U.S. Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago between October 2018 and January 2021. During this period, he also served in an ex-officio position on the Board of AMCHAM T&T, representing the U.S. Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago.
“We are very saddened by the passing of Ambassador Mondello,” said AMCHAM T&T CEO, Nirad Tewarie. “Mr. Mondello’s contributions to AMCHAM T&T helped strengthen our ties to the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. government through many positive and beneficial engagements around national security and peacekeeping issues, trade and investment opportunities, and access to influential U.S. policymakers, business leaders and U.S. based companies/firms. He was very open, accessible, and down-to-earth in his dealings with us. He served his government at a difficult time in T&T-US relations but always sought to build bridges and conducted himself in a gentle and dignified manner.”
As the U.S. Ambassador to T&T, Mr. Mondello’s coordination of the USNS Comfort mission to Trinidad and Tobago in 2019 provided free medical coverage for over 7,000 patients, 90 percent of whom were T&T nationals, including 119 surgeries. “AMCHAM T&T donated 50 pap smears, 1000 school kits, 200 first aid kits, bottled water, snacks, storage, and transportation services to this initiative which were sponsored by our members. AMCHAM T&T remains very grateful to Mr. Mondello and the U.S. Embassy for their support and coordination of activities around this initiative,” Tewarie said.
“With regard to his relationship with AMCHAM T&T, he spoke at our AGM, hosted the Ambassador’s reception for our members and held numerous smaller meetings with our Board. He really made a concerted effort to strengthen ties between T&T and the U.S. We are grateful for all that he did and are better off for having known and worked with him,” Tewarie said.
Mondello is survived by his wife, Linda Elizabeth Crabtree, and daughters Elizabeth Mondello and Lisa Ostuni. He was preceded in death by his son, Joseph Nestor Mondello, last year.
For further questions or comments please contact: Nirad Tewarie, CEO of AMCHAM T&T at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM T&T) has been advocating for greater investments in technology to accelerate growth and economic development in Trinidad and Tobago and to build the local tech ecosystem.
For the past five years, AMCHAM T&T has been working with multi-stakeholders across the public and private sectors and with the local tech innovators and disruptors to create a tech sector that will increase the country’s economic diversification strategy. The goal of this is to develop a critical mass of local talent, connect established businesses with the young disruptors to increase collaboration on problem-solving facilitated by technology, and build a national tech ecosystem and marketplace that will allow local businesses to export tech services to international markets.
However, Nirad Tewarie, AMCHAM T&T CEO says the current system is creating major problems and overwhelming citizens and companies. “We are all nodes that make up that system. So how do we see ourselves?” Tewarie said on Day Two of AMCHAM T&T’s Tech Hub Islands Summit (THIS) at the Hyatt Regency on July 7th. “We often ask who should do something. Why not you? Why not me? Why should somebody else do it?”
Tewarie says the answer is to turn those problems into opportunities with the use of technology. “Why not talk about how tech is going to help us get better jobs and improve social justice and social mobility in Trinidad and Tobago, and the world. That should be our goal.”
The AMCHAM T&T CEO recommended using technology as an enabler and as an industry to create opportunities for the people who feel they have no opportunities in the traditional system and to also solve problems such as inequality and injustice around the world.
“If we define our problem and say we are going to be part of the solution as AMCHAM T&T is, then we can use some tools or create some new tools to solve our problems and to make our whole space better because that's what it should be about,” Tewarie said.
Talking about building a tech sector, Tewarie said the focus is not on the money but should be on business efficiency and improving the quality of life for employees and citizens. “You need the resources to be able to move things along, but it's how do we do this to achieve larger objectives that we have around how we want our society to develop, and the money will inevitably follow.”
Tewarie said the government should be seeking to increase collaboration and partnership with the private sector to achieve this. “If our government which has so much to do in their digital transformation journey sees itself as a developer of IP, where they invite the private sector and they put an open call to solve solutions and become co-owners of the IP that we can then resell on license, and that in itself, becomes a revenue stream.”
Ultimately, Tewarie believes that there’s no shortage of ideas and opportunities with the use of technology. “If we focus only on the problems, we will never create the Trinidad and Tobago that we want. We will never achieve the objectives that we want, and we will always be depressed and upset and angry because all we see is what we can't do or what somebody else should do.”
For these reasons, Tewarie said we need to create a Trinidad and Tobago that every citizen deserves. “We argue that let's do it in part through the development of a tech sector because ‘we can make it if we try, just a little harder’ in the words of the great poet, the Black Stalin.”
The Tech Hub Islands Summit (THIS) 2022 is now available on-demand for both registered and non-registered participants at techislands.net until July 27th, 2022. This year, THIS received corporate support from Title Sponsor: Republic Bank Limited; Platinum Sponsors: PwC, IDB, Digicel, Eximbank, SI Digital; Gold Sponsors: Guardian Group; NIO Digital; Proman; Silver Sponsor: Balroop Group; Session Sponsors: Visa and the TTIFC and Digital Media Partner: LoopTT and Transportation Partner: EuropCar.
For further questions or comments please contact: Nirad Tewarie, CEO of AMCHAM T&T at email@example.com.
The American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM T&T) and Republic Bank will be hosting the 4th Edition of the Tech Hub Islands Summit (THIS) from July 6th to July 8th at the Hyatt Regency in POS, Trinidad.
Global tech shapers Bernard Meyerson, Chief Innovation Officer Emeritus at IBM and David White, Global Technology Team Lead for Infrastructure Modernization at Google Cloud are headliners of the three-day summit. Also, scheduled on the agenda are:
THIS is a platform that brings together organisations in the private and public sectors that share the mutual view of digital transformation being an accelerator for growth and economic development in Trinidad and Tobago as well as a key driver in the building of the local tech ecosystem.
Republic Bank’s support of THIS renews a commitment with AMCHAM T&T to host THIS for an additional three years. "We as a company have taken the initiative to commit to this conference as title sponsors, not only for this year's edition but also for the following three years, since we not only recognise the importance of digital transformation but are keen to be advocates for it,” said Derwin Howell, Executive Director of Republic Bank Limited.
"RBL believes that Digital Transformation is the key to keep moving forward not only as a bank but as a society."
AMCHAM T&T is very grateful for the continued partnership and commitment by the private sector towards promoting tech as an enabler for economic growth and development in T&T. “Investing in tech remains a top economic priority for our nation right now so that we can channel greater investor confidence in our businesses, institutions, and governance and build the digital economy to help realise new opportunities for economic development and reduce social inequalities,” said Nirad Tewarie, CEO of AMCHAM T&T.
“Through this partnership with Republic Bank and other corporate stakeholders, the private sector is proving their commitment towards building T&T as a major tech hub in the world that would leverage collaboration and the creation of various innovations to spur growth and investor confidence within our region.”
At the three-day event, AMCHAM T&T will be hosting important sessions with leading industry experts and players to help outline the potential opportunities in Tech for T&T to become one of the leading tech enablers in the world. The theme for this year’s event “Change in Action” will promote the adoption of technology and digital transformation through telling success stories and sharing important information related to the “how-to’s” for implementation.
Some of the topics to be featured at THIS 2022:
1. Change in Action – Learn from the success stories of tech adopters – the process, challenges, benefits, and pain points of implementing tech solutions to improve business operations. Most importantly, learn how and why you should do it too!
2. The New World – The major trends around Web3, the Metaverse, digital currencies and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). Why and how to get involved?
3. Can You Handle It? – Digital Intensity – Keeping up with or even leading technological advancements by having the best talent on your team to build your organisation's digital capabilities.
4. FinTech – Financial Inclusion – What lessons can we learn from the progress and successes in other countries that can propel T&T’s financial ecosystem and what are the benefits to you!?
5. Attractive Shores – The pandemic, and now the Invasion of Ukraine, have highlighted the importance of nearshoring and created opportunities for non-traditional players. Now is T&T’s chance to become a real player in the global tech supply chain.
6. Digital Transformation of Government – Addressing the practical tech solutions being employed by governments around the world that can be adopted by GoRTT as well as some of the local initiatives that are underway.
Since the event’s launch in 2019, THIS has grown in attendance and public interest resulting in increased corporate support and stakeholder engagement in digital transformation to build a tech ecosystem in T&T and fuel the digital economy. This year, THIS has received corporate support from Platinum Sponsors: PwC, IDB, Digicel, Eximbank, SI Digital; Gold Sponsor: Guardian Group; NIO Digital; Silver Sponsor: Balroop Group, Session Sponsors: Visa and the TTIFC and Digital Media Partner: LoopTT.
THIS 2022 will be a hybrid event from July 6th-8th, 2022 with the in-person component held at the Hyatt Regency and the virtual portion streamed through AMCHAM T&T’s virtual platform at techislands.net. AMCHAM T&T extends our gratitude to Republic Bank and all our sponsors for their continued support and partnership for this event which we believe will help increase the advocacy and investments needed to build the local tech ecosystem.
The American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM T&T) has re-elected Toni Sirju-Ramnarine, Vice President of Corporate Operations at Atlantic LNG to another term as President of the Chamber at its 29th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on June 22nd, 2022 at the Hilton Trinidad & Conference Center.
This was the first in-person event hosted by AMCHAM T&T since COVID-19 was identified within T&T’s borders. Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Brian Manning and CEO of IDB Invest James Scriven delivered the Keynote and Feature addresses respectively. The AMCHAM T&T AGM attracted Executives from several members with Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee Scoon and Opposition MP Rushton Paray, who shadows Trade and Industry as well as Permanent Secretaries and members of the diplomatic corps also attending, highlighting the ability of the organisation to create avenues for dialogue among different stakeholders.
“Thank you for the faith and confidence you have placed in me over this past year as President. I look forward to working and growing with you in the coming year,” Sirju-Ramnarine said in the President’s Remarks as she also commemorated the organisation’s 30th Anniversary with the members of AMCHAM T&T. “We are celebrating our organisation’s 30th Anniversary. AMCHAM T&T thanks each of you for your unwavering support and we look forward to another 30 years of more wins shared with you.”
Sirju-Ramnarine who spoke on the theme “Enabling Recovery, Growth, and Resilience in the context of Sustainable Development in our nation,” during her opening remarks mapped out four (4) high-level priority areas in which AMCHAM T&T intends to offer increased leadership and advocacy. These are: 1) Investing In Technology, 2) Developing a Nearshoring Strategy, 3) Promoting Environment, Social and Governance (ESG), and 4) Advocacy for the Rule of Law.
While challenges from the pandemic have accelerated digital adoption across many companies, Sirju-Ramnarine says we must now start leveraging new technologies and applying them across all sectors of the economy to equally benefit all companies and ensure that technology becomes a real enabler for innovation and development.
“Building a thriving tech sector requires greater investment in research and development, advancing education, bridging the digital divide, and creating an easier regulatory environment to enable our entrepreneurs to start businesses more easily,” Sirju Ramnarine said. “Both the private and public
sectors have to do this together, but we must make this a major priority within our operations and as part of our country’s economic agenda.”
AMCHAM T&T is also working with the government, alongside other agencies to execute the strategies outlined in a Nearshoring Policy paper which was recently presented to the Minister of Trade & Industry and the Minister of Digital Transformation.
AMCHAM T&T’s investment in this strategy is linked to national digital transformation, and to diversify the economy and attract investment in T&T. “Developing a nearshoring sector amidst the instabilities shaping our world right now may work in our favour as companies seek to move operations closer to home because of ongoing conflicts, supply chain concerns, the issues highlighted by the pandemic and climate change,” Sirju-Ramnarine said. “The potential here for the development of this sector will result in viable export, foreign exchange earning opportunities, and increased jobs.”
To set the stage for recovery and growth towards sustainable development, AMCHAM T&T also launched two new committees during the AGM. The ESG Committee and Rule of Law Committee will feature leading experts and influential organisations offering best practice advice and information on current issues affecting the realms of ESG and providing additional resources, skills sharing, and knowledge transfer to maintain the Rule of Law in our nation.
Sirju-Ramnarine said key investors, stakeholders and policymakers are now looking at companies with built-in, measurable ESG policies as a prerequisite for investment which have been threatened by the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.
The AMCHAM T&T President also said the key to an attractive and welcoming business environment begins with the predictable application of laws, policies, and processes which are being eroded by corruption – both actual corruption and the perception of corruption – a painfully slow justice system, and violent crime.
“We cannot build a resilient and cohesive society or conduct business in the absence of citizen security, fairness, and access to justice,” Sirju-Ramnarine said. “We must all work together to create a society rooted in good governance and high levels of social mobility and equality so that our citizens are made to feel safe, our businesses can thrive, and the economy becomes more efficient and attractive to investment.”
Sirju-Ramnarine says these initiatives can be realized by more meaningful public-private partnerships geared towards national development initiatives, upgrading the existing infrastructure to develop a booming tech hub and drive economic growth derived from nearshoring opportunities, addressing concerns at the ports and with customs to improve the ease of doing business and attract greater investment, and strengthening our cybersecurity frameworks to create the necessary regulatory and legislative environment to facilitate these objectives.
At the 29th Annual General Meeting (AGM), AMCHAM T&T elected the following Board of Directors for the term 2022 – 2023:
Chargé d’Affaires, Shante Moore, U.S Embassy Trinidad & Tobago – Ex-Officio position
Nirad Tewarie, CEO AMCHAM T&T – Ex-Officio position
AMCHAM T&T’s 29th Annual General Meeting was sponsored by Platinum Sponsors: E-zone Logistics; EXIMBank of Trinidad and Tobago; Gold Sponsor: ANSA Merchant Bank; and Silver Sponsors: Atlantic LNG; and EOG Resources. Meanwhile, the Inter-American Development Bank was listed as a Corporate Partner.
For more information, interested persons can visit www.amchamtt.com.
The American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM T&T) continues its support for the Russell Latapy Secondary School with the donation of thirty (30) feminine care packages for vulnerable students and twenty-two (22) empty steel drums to enhance the school’s music department and to help the students prepare for CXC examinations.
The request for empty steel drums was made to the AMCHAM T&T Secretariat via the school’s administration and discussed with the AMCHAM T&T Security Committee. Peter Charles, Managing Director of Jian Enterprises and a member of the committee was able to procure the twenty-two (22) empty steel drums through his contacts at Carasol Ltd. and Hyline Label Company Ltd. Sixteen (16) of the drums were donated by Carasol Ltd. while an additional six (6) came from Hyline Label Company Ltd.
Meanwhile, the feminine care packages were part of a sponsored donation from Xtra Foods. Upon receipt of the packages, AMCHAM T&T decided to distribute the thirty (30) feminine care packages to the school to provide additional support and assistance to students in need.
“The students and staff at the Russell Latapy Secondary School have become a second family to AMCHAM T&T,” said Nirad Tewarie, CEO of AMCHAM T&T. “We are very proud of the students who continue to display resilience through the pandemic. While we have been working with RLSS over the past four years, school closures over the last two years have made interacting with the children more challenging. However, we intend to get back into the groove of things and are looking forward to supporting the football team, providing field trips, mentorship activities, and the development of the children generally.”
Meanwhile, the Principal of the RLSS, Mrs Alicia Lucien-Baptiste thanked AMCHAM T&T for the generous donations which offer much-needed assistance to the female student population and will provide additional resources for the school’s CVQ steelpan manufacturing programme. “At a time where the Ministry of Education has extended a call for corporate T&T to partner with schools to improve the quality of education being offered to our students, AMCHAM T&T continues to heed that call as they have been an active stakeholder at the RLSS for the past four years, and we can say without fear of contradiction that their engagements have improved the quality of learning for our students.”
Mrs Baptiste says she hopes to see more corporate entities have meaningful engagements with the school to ensure that student learning outcomes are achieved in a holistic sense within a community that is caring, nurturing and supportive. “Effective education systems and learning environments are created when all come together in a meaningful way through collaboration and connection," Baptiste said. "We are again thankful to AMCHAM T&T for the years of collaboration and connection, and we indeed invite more of corporate T&T to get onboard.”
As school fully re-opens after a two-year closure due to the pandemic, AMCHAM T&T will continue to mentor students and provide the necessary support and assistance wherever possible. The initiative started in 2018 when AMCHAM T&T adopted a Form 1 class through an orientation programme with a focus on building students’ capacity for leadership through mentorship engagements, field trips to tertiary institutions and other educational places of interest, and classroom discussions on important life skills and other areas of individual capacity building.
Since then, AMCHAM T&T’s corporate social responsibility has widened to include the adoption of a second Form 1 class by Mr. Jovan Abraham, a member of the AMCHAM T&T’s Security Committee. Meanwhile, the wider student population has also benefitted through students’ engagement at various Youth Symposiums and debates held by AMCHAM T&T and from the sponsorship of uniforms and coaching services for the school’s football team. A Professional Development Session was held for teachers in the area of “Teaching Strategies,” while the Principal, Mrs. Alicia Lucien Baptiste was recently featured as a speaker at AMCHAM T&T’s Women’s Leadership Conference 2022.
Also, forty-two (42) computers were donated by AMCHAM T&T to assist students with the transition to remote learning during the pandemic. Twenty-five (25) computers were utilized for the creation of the school’s tech club while an additional seventeen (17) students who entered Form 5 in the new academic year benefited from desktops to continue their studies at their homes. These seventeen (17) students were also part of the inaugural class of the RLSS Tech Camp in 2020. The tech camp was facilitated by AMCHAM T&T’s partner Restore a Sense of I Can (RSC) who provided the refurbished computers via a donation from Republic Bank which was outfitted with webcams and headsets by AMCHAM T&T through the local school board. Also, AMCHAM T&T outsourced the services of Smart Vibrations in 2020 to help establish the school’s DJ and Sound Engineering Club with the provision of DJ equipment and functions for thirty (30) students.
AMCHAM T&T will continue to host future engagements with both the school’s administration and the respective student population to enhance their skills and meet the needs of the students. Currently, the school is desirous of a total of sixty (60) empty steel drums to ensure the success of its music department. Companies that are willing to join AMCHAM T&T on this initiative and provide additional assistance to the school are asked to contact AMCHAM T&T at 295-4869.
AMCHAM T&T would like to convey our gratitude to companies that will be willing to assist with this initiative. We are also grateful to Xtra Foods, Peter Charles, Managing Director of Jian Enterprises and the kind folks at Carasol Ltd. and Hyline Label Company Ltd for their donations and overall support provided to the Russell Latapy Secondary School.
(l-r) Vitra Gopee (AMCHAM T&T Digital Transformation Committee Member & COO, Digital Era Group); Nirad Tewarie (CEO, AMCHAM T&T); The Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon (Minister of Trade & Industry); Toni Sirju-Ramnarine (President, AMCHAM T&T) Anna Henderson (Deputy Chair of AMCHAM T&T's Digital Transformation Committee & CEO, Amaranth Business Solutions) and Rey-Anne Paynter-Mendez (Tech Community and Projects Officer, AMCHAM T&T)
A delegation from AMCHAM T&T led by President, Toni Sirju-Ramnarine along with AMCHAM T&T CEO, Nirad Tewarie met with Honorable Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, Permanent Secretary Frances Seignoret and a delegation from the Ministry of Trade and Industry on Friday, May 13, 2022, to present a policy paper “Nearshoring Framework & Rationale for The Government of Trinidad & Tobago” which was compiled by AMCHAM T&T’s Digital Transformation Committee. Other members of the AMCHAM T&T team were Deputy Chair of the Digital Transformation Committee, Anna Henderson (CEO, Amaranth Business Solutions), Digital Transformation Committee Member, Vitra Gopee (COO, Digital Era Group) and Tech Community and Projects Officer, Rey-Anne Paynter-Mendez.
The discussion centered around the recommendations contained in the paper, and how a nearshoring strategy could result in more investments into T&T. AMCHAM T&T reiterated its commitment to working with the Government to design and execute a Nearshoring Strategy to accelerate efforts to diversify the economy, find new and sustainable ways to increase GDP, and mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic on citizens and businesses.
“The paper outlines several factors that make Trinidad and Tobago highly favourable for investment and the attraction of new business activity through a nearshoring strategy that should warrant the Government’s consideration. AMCHAM T&T is committed to this strategy as we believe its execution will provide major economic opportunities for T&T. Working collaboratively with the Government, we are confident that we can build new pillars of economic growth in T&T,” said Toni Sirju-Ramnarine, AMCHAM T&T President.
Meanwhile, Minister Gopee-Scoon commended the private sector’s efforts to collaborate with the government on initiatives to boost investment into T&T. “Much can be achieved when the government and private sector collaborate,” Gopee-Scoon said. “I look forward to continuing the engagement with AMCHAM T&T and the wider private sector to continue to build on recent success to attract more investment and create more jobs through a deliberate nearshoring strategy.”
“We were very encouraged by the discussions with Minister Gopee-Scoon and the team from the MTI. The benefits of public-private partnerships can’t be overstated and AMCHAM T&T appreciates the open relationship we have with the Hon Minister. Coming out of the meeting we agreed to focus on leveraging nearshoring opportunities in IT-enabled Services, Logistics and Distribution, and specialized manufacturing. Immediately, we will begin work to enhance capacity building to support the growth of these sectors and to define the elements of the strategy,” explained AMCHAM T&T CEO, Nirad Tewarie.
AMCHAM T&T will collaborate with the MTI and other agencies of the government as well as the business community to work together on the development and execution of the strategy. AMCHAM T&T believes Trinidad & Tobago has a unique opportunity given the current global landscape to attract Nearshoring business as a viable export and therefore foreign exchange-earning opportunity. In this regard, AMCHAM T&T wishes to thank the Minister and the Ministry of Trade and Industry and her team for the collaboration and support for this initiative. We look forward to continued engagement to generate the mutually desired results.
Click the link to read the Policy Paper: "Nearshoring Framework & Rationale For Trinidad and Tobago"
For further questions or comments please contact Nirad Tewarie, CEO AMCHAM T&T at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM T&T) remains committed to enhancing trade and export promotion opportunities to benefit local businesses and ensure T&T’s economic recovery and stability from the pandemic.
“T&T continues to be a prime investment destination for multinational companies to conduct business. It’s important that we seek out more opportunities to increase FDI, spur economic growth, and provide the additional goods and services to the local market,” said Nirad Tewarie, AMCHAM T&T CEO. “Through our participation in several trade events this week, AMCHAM T&T is reaffirming our commitment to ensuring greater opportunities for private sector growth and economic development in T&T.”
The first of these opportunities sought by AMCHAM T&T occurred at the U.S.-Caribbean Business Conference in Miami, Florida on April 12th-14th where Tewarie spoke at a panel discussion on the topic “Market Overview of Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Eastern Caribbean”. The event which was hosted by South Florida District Export Council in collaboration with Enterprise Florida and the U.S. Commercial Service is one of the largest events organised by the U.S. Government to promote trade with the Caribbean. It typically attracts over 500 participants from across the U.S., mainly small and medium-sized businesses.
The AMCHAM T&T CEO participated in a panel alongside Shante Moore, Chargé d'affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Port of Spain and Valerie Laboy, Economic and Commercial Officer of the Embassy. Participants are expected to benefit from the introduction to new products, current trends, international regulations, and other issues related to foreign trade and development. In addition, the event provided an excellent opportunity for the participating companies and countries to conduct vital business networking and one-on-one meetings with representatives of the U.S. Embassies in the region. Following the panel, several participants expressed interest in finding out more about the T&T market and held a number of one-on-one meetings to further their knowledge. “We’re hoping that some of this initial interest will be converted into exploratory missions to T&T and, eventually actual efforts to enter the T&T market in short order,” said Tewarie after the event.
AMCHAM T&T also participated in the Canada-Caribbean Trade Mission: Growing a Green Economic Recovery, on April 13th which was hosted by the Government of Canada, under Canada’s International Trade - Global Affairs Canada Department. The hybrid event was formally launched on April 13th by The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development of Canada where she met with
government and business officials from Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago & Barbados. The trade mission explored and promoted green business initiatives, SMEs, and diversity in trade in these four Caribbean markets.
The AMCHAM T&T CEO was featured in the "Straight Talk – Market Opportunities in Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago” panel session which provided a general overview of local markets and opportunities in the region for sustainable business opportunities in clean technology and green infrastructure in the Caribbean.
"There is considerable scope for Canadian businesses in clean energy, tech, agriculture and professional services in the T&T market,” Tewarie said. “We hope that this event has whet the appetite of more Canadian firms to come to T&T and we will continue to work closely with the Canadian High Commission to bring Canadian firms to our market and to take T&T firms to Canadian markets. This event follows a virtual trade mission that we held in collaboration with the Canadian High Commission in 2021, so we will keep at it.”
Finally, AMCHAM T&T officially launched the virtual Trade Mission to the U.S. State of Illinois on April 13th, 2022, in partnership with exporTT and the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Sixteen (16) local companies participated in the Trade Mission which will provide opportunities for export promotion and investment with the state of Illinois, U.S.A.
The virtual trade mission will offer many additional opportunities for these companies to promote and expand their products and services, gain valuable market insight, build their customer base, and widen their audience through informative and interesting conversations with potential buyers and partners via a unique virtual experience through new technologies available by the metaverse.
“Doing the trade mission in the metaverse offered local companies the opportunity to interact with potential partners and discuss their products,” said Melissa Pierre, Senior Trade and Policy Specialist at AMCHAM T&T. “Whilst, the metaverse will not replace the in-person mission, it really helps when you are on a budget to consider market penetration initiatives.”
With these initiatives, AMCHAM T&T is doing its part to seek out new and innovative opportunities to secure private sector growth and foreign direct investment in our local economy. We intend to continue pursuing opportunities that will maintain business competitiveness and advantage in our local economy for the benefit of our members and the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.
62 Maraval Road,
Newtown, Port of Spain
T: (868) 622-0340, 622-4466,
F: (868) 628-9428
Email AMCHAM T&T
P.O. Bag 150, Newtown,
Port of Spain
Trinidad and Tobago.
HSE Excellence Awards
National Youth Productivity Forum
Copyright © AMCHAM T&T