Abstract Business Guide Issue 7

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Disclaimer: The views or opinions presented in this publication are solely those of the writers and do not necessarily represent those of the company. Employees of ABSTRACT MEDIA GROUP COMPANY LIMITED are expressly required not to make defamatory statements and not to infringe or authorize any infringement of copyright or any other legal right. Any such article is contrary to company policy and is outside the scope of the employment of the individual writer concerned. The company will not accept any liability in respect of such article, and the employee responsible will be personally liable for any damages or other liability arising.



Capitalizing on the Profitability of Carnival


he countdown is on to the greatest show on earth. For some, the clock began ticking from the moment last lap ended. In an effort to ease their carnival tabanca some carnival lovers have positioned themselves to receive healthy doses of the experience by travelling to the many diaspora Carnivals. But as Carnival bands launch and would be masqueraders band their bellies to make their down payments there is one issue which remains pertinent: Are festival investors profiting and what more can be done in this regard? The Abstract Business Guide contacted several people integral to this cultural celebration for a representative response to this question. According to Rubadiri Victor (cultural analyst), the government of Trinidad and Tobago invests approximately 300 million dollars into Carnival each year. This figure encapsulates labour, equipment, security, prize monies and other financial outputs. With approximately 60,000 persons descending on our shores for the Carnival season, private firms are also motivated to invest in their own plant equipment in order to meet increased production demands. Other investors include Carnival mas band owners, small vendors and craftsmen. While the festival is worth approximately 1.3 billion, it is necessary to determine two things: what is the quality of investment? Also, who profits? Mr. Victor noted that at the micro level, small vendors continue to profit despite the stiff competition posed with the rise of the all inclusive bands. Craftsmen on the other hand have

Written by A. Martin

been suffering as a result of their positioning during the season among other factors. Furthermore, only a handful of mas bands reap profits from their healthy investments. Traditional mas makers and franchises like the King and Queen of Carnival fare even worse. Victor argued that the real profiteers from Carnival are the airlines, the hotels and the beverage and food industries. These are all corporate bodies that make money off of the Carnival experience but do not necessarily give back to their core source of profit. Victor suggested that these private entities should be taxed in an effort to trap some of the prof-

its for reinvestment into the development of Carnival. "There is a cluster of people who are making most of the money… how do we trap some of that wealth to redistribute it into programs and processes that could democratize the wealth for everybody? We have to do a mapping of all the people who are benefiting from the Carnival; from the people who are making plastic bottles ... the whole design, the whole chain…you have to tax them.. if you have a seasonal tax where you tax people who are making exorbitant profits at that time

and that money could then be put back as qualitative investment into the Carnival - the traditional mas, the village mas... the things that are dying ... a steel band museum, the creative guilds." A representative from mas band, Tribe noted that the band which easily fits into the large band category, has only started to see profits after its tenth year in the business. The operational manager stated that this is the reason why most bands do not last very long. She described the business of managing a band as especially risky given that the running

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local business of Tribe's company, which operates all year long with huge operational costs, is dependent on payments which are only made upon the collection of costumes. This in itself is not guaranteed as economic recession and natural disasters can easily lead to necessary cancellation of orders especially for foreign clientele. The representative shared that Tribe was able to survive despite their deficit years because of the wide network which the band boasts as well as substantial corporate sponsorship. This point was corroborated by Mr. Victor who stated that only a handful of bands reap profits from their investments and that this can be attributed to their ability to benefit from heavy subsidization while selling an experience and building their brand toward stability and a fairly cemented clientele. Tribe personnel advised that while the government offers courses at some tertiary educational institutions which covered Carnival related curricula, more could be done to ensure that there is a continuity of specialized skills into the art of mas making. An appeal was especially made for the provision of incentives for young people to get involved. This competency deficiency became very relevant to the band within recent times as its 2014 offering is grounded in an Native Indian theme,


"There are a limited amount of people skilled in costume production in Trinidad, one area in particular is headpieces …it's hard to find people that are skilled in making headpieces… like this year where we have an Indian theme, there are about two (2) people that make them so it is very hard to find skilled labour for Carnival. There is a s m a l l pool of very good people… wire bending and those arts

are becoming lost arts in Trinidad … you don't have a lot of new faces." While government initiative through the National Carnival Bands Association and the National Carnival Development Association, to upgrade and standardize mas camps through the provision of internet and small loans to assist bands with start up costs was applauded, Tribe's manager suggested that companies should be streamlined. Furthermore, there should be some pool of resources to guide those interested in becoming involved. "There is no way to get information… you have to figure it out… there is no pool of information resources... some young people who want to get involved don't even know how to make a costume… there is an art to it what glue should I use, how do I get this to hold…" Another manager of a medium sized jouvert band stated that he grew up working with bands and continues to be involved for the love of it even though he makes no money at all from his jouvert venture. He stated that only out of pocket investments are made since he is unable to attract sponsorship, "Sponsors usually sponsor the bigger bands and it's about who you know or who they think would give the most value for investment." While this manager acknowledged his registration with the National Car-

nival Committee and the $2000 which he received to assist in production, he suggested that there should be some form of regularization to jouvert bands and that all the various sectors should be registered separately, "There should be more organization. Jouvert bands should register. There should be regularization. Then government should step in because it's culture. The government should then go to the bands and provide a standard financial assistance." The operational manager of a fairly young small band confessed that while the first three (3) years of production allowed her to break even, her 2013 experience culminated in a loss. She further stated that there was a lot of competition for sponsors and the bigger bands usually won out as sponsors would often tell her that she simply came too late. While she remains optimistic that her band would grow and become profitable at some stage she suggested that the government could assist small bands by offsetting certain overhead costs with regards to music for instance. In addition, she hypothesized that if governments would remove the tax involved in the purchase of local merchandise, small bands would fare better, "I don't buy

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things from China… I buy from Samaroos. Maybe the government can remove some of the tax from wholesalers to help the smaller bands." The entertainers who were interviewed gave a varied response. One side of responses suggested that their investment into Carnival was profitable and this investment was justified given that Carnival represents the peak income generating period for a soca entertainer. The other side suggested that artistes stand to make more money if their music was played throughout the year. It is safe to say that the ceiling for profits among individual artistes would vary depending on which artiste was posed the question. In the final analysis one may be forced to acknowledge that in the same way that a handful of mas bands profit from their investment in Carnival, only a handful of soca artistes profit from their own investments. So Carnival is profitable but to whom? How are we measuring profits and investments? Additionally, is there room for more profits to be made? According to Mr. Victor the government can stand to make more money on Carnival by attaching a film festival to the season or creating traditional spaces. A fuel subsidy for cruise ships can even lead to an increase in tourist generated profits given that the country only has room capacity for approximately 40,000 vistors. Ultimately our Carnival has immeasurable potential to become a massive equitably distributed income generating industry. However, government and stakeholders need to ensure that when we review each Carnival experience we can not only feel a sense of tabanca, but that valid investors across the various sectors are able to enumerate their experience in terms of dollars and cents in a positive way.



Security Companies Making The Most Of Crime In T&T Written by Crystal Cassie


anagement guru Peter Drucker once said that “the entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” In the past few years, the upsurge of security firms in T&T suggests that the industry’s growth has been fueled by rising crimes rates. Edison Munro, president, Estate Police Association (EPA) admits that there is a lot of money to be made in the security industry but, this is made from “exploiting” vulnerable people. In T&T, crime continues to spiral out of control, as society faces an overburdened legal system, bureaucratic resistance to change, unemployment in marginal areas, the negative influence of gangs, and a growing illegal narcotics industry. From 2007 to 2013, murder rates remained in excess of 350 per year, peaking at 550 in 2008. For the January to July 2013 period, T&T Police Service Crime statistics reflect 1649 robberies and 1551 burglaries and breakins.

renovations of several police stations and recruitment of new officers, many crimes go unreported and even when reported, are not documented. The US OSAC Trinidad and Tobago 2013 Crime and Safety Report states that a mere 17% of reported crimes result in an arrest. Rising crime coupled with falling confidence in public sector defense has provided an opportunity for new and existing business owners to profit from fear, paranoia and constant threat. Citizens wanting to take precautionary measures to safeguard life and assets, in a “prevention is better than cure” approach, have fueled demand for private sector security services. According to Mr. Munro, there are now 500 registered companies in the security industry and approximately 33,000 security officers. In addition, there are businesses that have expanded their product lines to operate within the security sector. For instance, TSTT launched Blink Vigilance in 2010, and celebrated its 12000Th customer in 2012. Likewise, several registered

According to Mr. Munro, there are now 500 registered companies in the security industry and approximately 33,000 security officers Confidence in the T&T Police Service is moving in the opposite direction. Despite investments in new police cruisers, 4

computer firms are now installing access control systems and CCTV systems while stores, such as PriceSmart and some

hardware stores sell CCTV systems. Further contributing to the growth of the industry are the technological advancements that have made security products more readily available and accessible to citizens. The ability to stream video over the Internet and Internet/wireless costs, and the introduction of  “relatively cheap” technology have led to many firms opting to use these technologies instead of people. In modern security operations, a variety of tools are marketed to consumers such as electronic security services, electronic gates, ID services, closed circuit television (CCTV) systems, intercom systems, biometric control equipment, alarm monitoring and control equipment and vehicle tracking equipment. Rising costs of operating within the industry also signal that business is booming. As the industry widens, wages have increased. A larger number of persons are employed, coupled with the fact that persons with a greater skill base, such as university degrees, technical qualifications, electronic and engineering backgrounds are now

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seeking employment in the sector. Jinnah Mohammed, director of operations at Imjin Security Services Ltd, indicated that security officers now get wages in excess of the minimum wage, while personal security services can cost $18,000 a month or more. Brian Ramsey, a security industry consultant and regional development director at Amalgamated Security Services, disagrees with the belief that crime rates are responsible. He believes that the growth of the security industry is directly correlated to economic growth. He states, “The demand has been high for several years. Instead, what has happened is that the economy has grown and, as the economy has grown, more businesses of all types have been opened and each of these new businesses has a requirement for security services, thus, causing the size of the security sector to grow.” Either way, security providers in T&T have acted consistently with Crime Opportunity theory, making rational choices by choosing targets that offer a high reward with little effort and risk.





Written by Leah Lewis

he region sought to enhance its integration process through the agreement to establish the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) as a framework for the small countries of the group to stimulate growth and development amidst external and internal challenges. The establishment of the Caricom Single Market in 2006 saw an expansion of total exports from US$17.8 billion in 2006 to US$18.8 billion in 2011. The same is reflected in the Caricom Secretariats’ report which shows that intraregional trade has increased over the decades of the integration movement. This success is due in part to the changes in the global environment which include the advent of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its impact on the setting of the oil prices and related minerals and more recently the global fi-

countries to increase their exports and competitiveness in both regional and global markets. The regional market possesses the capacity to signal an improved position as it relates to our export markets. However, in order for the export market to grow Caribbean countries need to take advantage of the opportunities available under current trade agreements such as the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union. Based on research conducted by the International Trade Centre (ITC) Export Strategy Unit, Caribbean countries are heavily dependent on international services and merchandise, in addition to which the rapidly evolving competitive global trade environment and volatile financial markets signal need for the export markets to improve on their strategy. In order for this to be accomplished export opportu-

Further partnership with international companies and organisations such as the link forged between TCL Group’s alliance and Mexico Cemix has given rise to access to the regional marketing experience while attaining foreign capital nancial and economic crisis. Another channel that promotes regional export culture within the Caribbean is CARIRORUM (Forum of the Caribbean Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific states). This initiative allows Cariforum 6

nities have been identified in non-traditional sectors. Within the regional market companies such as Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) and the Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago have expanded into regional markets after domestic markets became

saturated. In an effort to compete internationally, these companies have used the region as a platform to build economies of scale. Further partnership with international companies and organisations such as the link forged between TCL Group’s alliance and Mexico Cemix has given rise to access to the regional marketing experience while attaining foreign capital. Similarly, Guyana’s Demerara Distillers’ partnership with a number of multinational consumer-product companies allowed the company to enhance and strengthen its production and marketing capabilities to international standards. Another avenue for boosting the export market has been the engagement with regional branding and marketing. That is the strategy of the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers’ Association Inc. (WIRSPA) Their transition from bulk to branded products demonstrates the Caribbean rum sector’s commitment to modernize and operate according to international best practice. This is

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a template that highlights regional cooperation forged from a partnership between public and private institutions. One of the main features of the rum programme is the creation of an Authentic Caribbean Rum marque. The marque serves as a visual symbol of provenence and quality and also promotes the development of authentic Caribbean Rum as a distinct category within the rum sector. Moving forward Caribbean countries have already identified three categories to aid in export expansion which include: specific regional markets, partnerships with international companies and organisations as well as regional branding and marketing. A fundamental shift in the culture of doing business is required along with a greater participation from stakeholders. It is also of grave importance that a public-private sector relationship of regional governance and implementation be instituted to continue the long term expansion of export in the region.




Cabinet Reshuffle Upsets the Tourism Industry

n the 5th September 2013, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar reshuffled her cabinet for the third time in three years. Stephen Cadiz has been appointed as Minister of Transport and his successor is Mr. Chandresh Sharma. The common response from the tourism fraternity with regards to the new appointment is; it will only bring about further delay to an industry in which that progress was being made. Hazel Thom, president of Trinidad Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism Association expressed her disappointment with the reshuffle at a joint press conference held at Marriot Hotel, Port of Spain. She posited that the new appointment would lead to stagnancy. “It takes any minister six months to get their feet on the ground before we can start propelling this industry.” In attendance were also representatives of the Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association (THTA), the Small Tourism Accommodation Owners of TT (STAOTT) and the TT Incoming Tour Operators (TTITOA). There were also fears that the change could lead to further changes within the industry. Stakeholders at the meeting made a public appeal to the Prime Minister to allow the current chairman of Tourism Development Company, Mr. Brian Frontin to remain in position. They publically declared their support for Brian Frontin, calling him “one of the best tourism managers to come into the industry in years.” They went on to implore the Prime 8

They publically declared their support for Brian Frontin, calling him “one of the best tourism managers to come into the industry in years” Minister and the new Minister Sharma to leave him in place at the TDC. Kevin Kenny director of Trinidad Hotel and Tourism Association commented by giving statistical information “Tourism brings in about $5 billion and employs directly about 300,000 people. There are as many people involved in it as

the manufacturing sector. We are the only Caribbean country that is operating at a lower level. We could have about $400 or $600 million coming into the coffers, but we have to strike confidence in the banking sector” he stated. Speaking to Abstract Business Guide by phone, Lorraine Pouchet, secretary of the

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Trinidad and Tobago Incoming Tour Operators Association (TTITOA) said, “It is not that we are upset with Sharma, but in reality the ministers that have been appointed as Minister of Tourism are no experts in the field. Therefore, for them to fully grasp the extent of what is expected of them will take at least 6-9months. Plans that have already been made are now put on halt to be reviewed by the new minister.” Pouchet also lamented that the constant change in ministers is distressing the industry since plans made are not given enough time to manifest. In addition, she also made an appeal to Larry Howai to allocate at least US$50 million to Tourism as most of the money will be spent on marketing. Tobago is also worried about the adverse effect the change would have on the island. Chris James President of Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association expressed his opinion that Tobago is in such a state, that it can no longer wait on implementation; saying serious action is needed in order to revive Tobago’s tourism. He further stated Tobago needed 1,500 rooms to be built, and any destabilization will not attract the investors since it is “their bread and butter”. Already, he said, there had been a 75 per cent decrease in arrivals from 2005 to 2008. The importance of the 1500 rooms to be built was further stressed by former Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) President John Bell who said if the 1,500 rooms were to be built in Tobago, the airlift would be improved and ultimately, the economy will benefit.



Calls For More Competition In Telecommunications Sector


Written by Crystal Cassie

erbert Hoover once said that “Competition is not only the basis of protection to the consumer, but is the incentive to progress.” In 2001, the Telecommunications Authority of T&T (TATT) was established when the sector was liberalized, with the hope of achieving substantial growth and a healthy, competitive climate. Twelve years later, customers face monopoly prices and inefficiencies in service when it comes to mobile networks and cable providers. The industry is signaling that there is a need for greater competition. Since 2005, TSTT has been successful in capturing the majority of market share after rebranding its mobile division to bMobile. Successful advertising campaigns, publicity and corporate social responsibility have left its sole competitor, Digicel, a market follower since its entry in 2006. Attempts to bring a third provider Laqtel, proved unsuccessful in 2008 when the licence was revoked. Presently, the hunt is on for a third mobile provider. It is no surprise that while Digicel welcomes new competition, bMobile asserts that the market is already saturated. In fact, the sector is hugely profitable and competition will most likely redistribute revenues among providers. In December 2012, the mobile telecommunications market earned approximately $2.2 billion in revenue with a total subscription base of 1.88 mil-

lion persons. Robert Hall, a former consultant for TATT, stated in 2009 that the optimal number of mobile networks in any country is no more than four, and even though the local market is small geographically and population wise, it is high in terms of its gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, relative to other markets of similar size. So in a climate of comparatively high prices for data packages and services, unreliable networks, exorbitant prices for the latest smart phones, stagnant promotional activities and advertising for mainly mobile voice call services and texts and international calls being cheaper than local calls, change is welcome. New competition will ultimately benefit the consumer, forcing service providers to maintain their competitive edge, improve the quality of their service and reduce prices. Competition can also bring value-added services, such as mobile broadcasting, content streaming, and third-party applications. This development can increase T&T’s international ratings in Internet usage and penetration, promoting the government’s focus on ICT based development. The story is the same when it comes to cable providers, but there is no hope of healthy rivalry in the near future. Despite competition from TSTT's Blink entertainment and DirecTV, Flow still maintains its market predominance in the country since in-

New competition will ultimately benefit the consumer, forcing service providers to maintain their competitive edge, improve the quality of their service and reduce prices ception in 2005. On March 1, 2012, there was an increase in the monthly rates charged for Flow residential digital cable services from $210 (VAT inclusive) per month to $225. Brian Collins, vice-president and general manager, Columbus Communications Trinidad Ltd, said this increase in cost comes from having to pay international cable providers for stations. He defended the move saying that Flow tried to absorb costs as far as possible but the 14% price increase over years had to be inevitably

passed on to customers. Flow has since maintained its growing customer base in spite of these price increases, the removal of popular stations, frequent breakdowns in some areas, poor customer service and long lines to pay bills. Perhaps an additional service provider will create waves in the telecommunications sector, waking X-inefficiency and the T&T public can benefit from better value, creativity and innovation as the country moves towards greater economic development.

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Crackdown On South Food Courts Having Positive Effect


Written by Osei Valdez

ver the past few months The San Fernando Public Health office in conjunction with the Mayor’s office conducted exercises that resulted in the closure of multiple Chinese Food and Gulf City Food Court restaurants. Some food carts that sell along the popular Cross Crossing strip had also been told to pack up shop. The restaurants involved had been closed due to improper food storage, dirty utensils and spoilt meat among other health code violations. These closures were done as a result of the inaction of restaurateurs to follow directives given to clean up their establishments from food inspectors. The general reaction towards the information released about the exercise by the populous was one of general disgust. There was, however, also a general underlying expectation from everyone about this announcement as there have long been suspicions that many establishments do not pay due attention to sanitation, especially among seasoned food buyers. Many consumers think that this is a wake-up call to food establishments to step up with respect to cleanliness and proper food handling. Consumers, though, did not seem to let the facts dissuade them from buying food in general because while their favourite restaurants were closed they just moved their business elsewhere while eagerly anticipating the reopening of their regu-

lar restaurants. Salsah owner Bari Habib, who is currently setting up a new restaurant has said this exercise has encouraged him to continue to adhere to the guidelines set up by the Public Health offices for restaurants. He commented “This is something that I definitely don’t wish to happen to me.” He used the situation to ensure that everything from his gas lines, to food storage areas were up to standard as he needed to ensure that his investment was secure. Patricia Urquhart, Bishop Anstey Trinity College East Manager, who provides over 500 lunches daily for over 2000 students, teachers and staff, commented that these restaurants must “Clean up their act!” She cited the potential for outbreaks of various bacteria and disease that stemmed from the improper handling of food and storage at improper temperatures. Both spoke about the set of basic guidelines that exist for running a restaurant. Bari spoke about the fact that even if a potential owner found it hard to get specifics for setting up a kitchen, there is a wealth of knowledge accessible via television networks and online that fall in line with those set by our government. Patricia mentioned that they are clearly defined and easily accessed. When asked about roadside vending, they both suggested that no food business should feel threatened because of its size as long as they keep their

standards up. Patricia added “roadside vending is part of Trinidad’s culture; as long as the guidelines are followed then they should be allowed to sell.” Bari suggested that the effect that this could have on a food business would be people staying away from these establishments because their unhygienic and lazy kitchen management pose a direct threat to their customers’ lives. It is often evidenced by the struggles of people seen on cable television’s “Kitchen Nightmares”, where owners see their businesses dwindle because of poor kitchen practices. Perhaps Trinidadian restaurateurs need an irate Gordon Ramsay to come and spew expletives at them to get them to do what is right. Even though the shops could not be stopped from cleaning up their kitchens so that they could resume business, Patricia thought that there should have been a greater backlash as a result of the closures. She suggested stiffer fines and a three strike system whereby if a restaurant is closed three times, the owner’s food badge should not be renewed. Bari likened the repercussions to that of driving drunk. He stated that the laws exist but they are not enforced enough. When they are however enforced and someone is persecuted to the extent of the law, people often take notice.

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“An example had to be made.” According to Public Health Inspector III, John Ramkelawan, the entire affair should have many lessons taken from it. Persons operating restaurants should become aware that they should take greater care with how they handle food as the consequences can run deep for their customers. They should also take notice that they could have their livelihoods removed if they are careless in the kitchen. He warned that “New laws are being implemented to allow the Public Heath Offices to seize restaurant equipment that are not up to health standards”. Patrons of food places, like any other good consumer, should educate themselves about where they buy their food and food standards. They should also ensure that what they are buying has been handled and prepared properly. Lastly, the nation should laud the efforts of the Southern Public Heath Office and the Mayor’s office that exposed the dirty practices of these various establishments. The actions of these offices should encourage the other regional offices to follow suit. We do hope that these exercises are conducted at a national level more frequently with the same vehemence each time to ensure that standards could be maintained for outside eating.



BUDGET 2013/2014:



it comes to reducing crime. For instance, there should be more investment in programmes to enhance youth, family and social life. This year, $3.5 billion was allocated to Social Development, but there were no new youth development programmes. Health received $5.1 billion, mostly to enhance the infrastructure of the sector. However, the introduction of the electronic health card can improve the quality of health care services to citizens, as a register of all patients accessing the health services will be kept for monitoring and improving health services. This can enhance the CDAP programme and pave the way for a national insurance system. Again agriculture receives the smallest share of the economic pie with a $1.3 billion dollar allocation. The same projects are being pursued such as the distribution of lands to former Caroni employees for cultivation, as well as increased accessibility to loans from the Agricultural Development Bank. According to Ramona Ramdial, Minister of the Environment, the country’s food import bill has hovered around $4 billion over the past several years and decreased by 2% from 2010 to 2013 because of the Caroni Green Initiative to supply local supermarkets and con-

sumers. In 2014, plans are being made to partner with the government of Guyana to increase food production through private sector ownership, as T&T strives towards food security. Environmental considerations were also highlighted in the budget. Litter fines increased two fold for corporations from $4000 to $8000 and households from $2000 to $4000. Illegal quarrying fines also soared from $200, 000 to $500, 000. While these are well intentioned, stricter law enforcement is required. The proposed tax allowance of 100% up to $40,000 per vehicle for CNG conversion, is very attractive, but public awareness of the benefits and costs of CNG is still wanting. Finally, “Axe the Tax” is no more. The proposed land and building taxes have emerged via a 3 phase system from 20142017. This may pose a significant cost to owners, but the public will have to wait to hear the details of valuation of property. In the current climate of economic stability and a healthy Heritage and Stabilization Fund of US$5 billion dollars, this year’s budget remain one of politics rather than economics…to quell the minds of the population amidst dwindling confidence in the current administration.

Receiving the largest allocainance minister Larry Howai delivered his tion was education, as the govearly $61.4 billion fi- ernment steers T&T on the road nancial plan on Mon- to economic development. The day as Trinidad and Tobago re- $9.82 billion dollars fuels the ceived its largest budget in the purchase of laptops, the erecnation’s history. Based on the tion of early childhood centres, forecasted revenue of $55 bil- repairs and maintenance to the lion and expenditure of $61.4 tune of $500 million, and the billion, T&T is expected to expansion of tertiary educarun its 5th consecutive budget tional and vocational facilities deficit since 2009. The Minis- nationwide. While these physiter suggested that a balanced cal assets are beneficial in the budget would be achieved by acquisition of human capital, 2016, as his government hopes there seems to be a sole emto reduce the debt to GDP ra- phasis on boosting the quantity tio from 4.6% in 2013 to 3.6% in rather than the quality of education in T&T. Steps should be 2014. But many described the taken to improve teaching and budget as unimpressive, deliv- learning output, address at-risk ered only to maintain the pre- students, close achievement vailing status quo. Projecting gaps and address deficiena conservative 2.5% economic cies and shortages in staffing growth rate in 2014 despite the schools. Similarly, crime received significant expenditure outlay, the budget lacked much antici- $6.5 billion to increase police pated election goodies and any presence, highway patrols, the noteworthy changes to affect quantity of police officers, CSI the welfare of the average T&T technology, helicopters, vehicles and police stations. Over citizen. The biggest news seems to the years, this increase in rebe the removal of the $300 mil- sources has proven to bring lion fuel subsidy to Caribbean only marginal improvements Airlines Ltd, with the promise in quality of defense when it that ticket prices will not be comes to detection rates and affected. This in a move to im- response times. Perhaps a proprove self sufficiency of the air- active rather than reactive apline and promote fair competi- proach needs to be taken when tion to LIAT, can be a reality if the restructured business plan Receiving the largest allocation was education, as is successfully implemented. the government steers T&T on the road to economic If not, this move can cost the development. The $9.82 billion dollars fuels the purchase state in the long run if CAL of laptops, the erection of early childhood centres, becomes unsustainable. Furrepairs and maintenance to the tune of $500 million, and thermore, for ticket prices to be unchanged then some subsidy the expansion of tertiary educational and vocational must exist for the airline to refacilities nationwide main competitive. 12 ABSTRACT BUSINESS • SEPTEMBER, 2013 • www.abstractbusinesstt.com



Dr. Raedene Copeland

Dress and Behavior Specialist speaks on the importance of image in HR and more


rinidad born Dr. Raedene P. Copeland is a Seattlebased dress and behavior specialist who splits her time between being a professor of Apparel Design and Merchandising at Seattle Pacific University and being the CEO of RPC Personal Branding Consultancy Ltd. Her company offers Human Resource branding through professional development, dress and behavior coaching to interested parties. Last month, the Dr. returned to our shores to host a seminar aimed at teaching the non-verbal and verbal messages that people communicate in professional and social settings. The event entitled Woman Is Boss was the first of what she hopes will become a slew of similar successful projects in her homeland. The Abstract Business Guide was lucky enough to catch up with the enigmatic figure for our Trump Card interview. ABG: How does a Trini girl grow up to become in doctor in your particular field in that particular college? DRC: I could have never predicted that my academic journeys would lead me to a doctorate in Consumer, Apparel and Retail Studies. However, from childhood I was always determined to forge my own unique path and match my passion with my academics. In the beginning of my academic career it was business and law.

However, as I became exposed to a global consumer market driven by a high need to appear ‘relevant,’ I became curious about the socio-economic implications of the dressed appearance. The rest is history! ABG: What types of skills do your courses equip students with? DRC: My students are ‘business students’ with a specialization in the apparel/fashion industry. They are educated on the scope of the business process from concept to the consumer and the integral role of having efficient and cohesive partnerships throughout the supply chain process. My students graduate and enter careers in Retail, Buying, Marketing, Public Relations, Fashion Journalism, Design, Fashion Forecasting, Image Consulting, etc. ABG: Tell us about your RPC Personal Branding Consultancy Company and what you aim to achieve. DRC: This is the result of a 6 year dream to re-invest in my home country that gave me a rich cultural and academic foundation. In the US I speak highly of my country’s intellectual capital, however, every time I visit home I am reminded that we still have progress to make in regard to personal branding and customer service. My goal is to use my global experiences and academic background to

Dr. Copeland at a recent seminar in Trinidad

be an intellectual resource for individuals and corporations with the hope that my services contribute to a re-branding and re-positioning of Trinidad and Tobago’s customer service standards. ABG: In your opinion, which aspects of the local (Trinidad and Tobago) fashion indus-

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try require the most work? DRC: I think we have very creative designers with unique perspectives. I am happy to see that there has been a strategic focus on building the fashion industry and I am confident that whatever shortcomings exist now, will be meshed out in the future. ABG: What are some of the


TRUMP CARD most common office attire mistakes people make. DRC: a) Garments that are illfitting; ranging from too short to too tight. b) Garments of poor quality and faded from overuse. c) Men – patterned undershirts. d) Wrinkled garments ABG: What are some measures the government should take to make T&T the region’s true fashion hub? DRC: I think the most any government can do is invest, invest, invest. This investment should not only be financial capital, but also in infrastructure and education. They can also provide incentives to attract foreign investors into our growing market. ABG: You often emphasize the importance of behavior and attitude in projecting an image. Elaborate. DRC: Like a corporation projects a brand image by creating a unique store experience through store design and wellpolished and skilled employees, so do individuals need to brand themselves. Thus, every time we interact with someone in public we have to think about their aesthetic experience viewing us and their impression of our cultural capital by the manner in which we speak and behave. Your overall projection, verbally and nonverbally becomes your brand. ABG: Explain the importance of self-branding as it relates to work. DRC: Most individuals desire to move up the corporate ladder. To do so you have to project a personal brand that reflects the brand of your employer’s corporation. Once you hone that specific brand through your verbal, non-verbal and proficiency, you are positioned to be considered a top employee for promotional opportunities.

from doing Crossfit I know that I can do just a little more, or push just a little harder even though I am tired or feel like quitting. I guess you are an athlete of sorts and that is the mental conditioning all athletes learn. ABG: We are known for producing world class beauties. Why don’t more T & T models achieve global success like Jamaica? DRC: Well there is no doubt that Trinidad has some of the most beautiful women in the world. What I have identified is that the women who have won in the past had brains, beauty, and polish. I cannot speak on the process that is used to select and train our global beauty contestants, but I will say that a pretty face and toned figure are not enough to win a pageant. The contestants need the holistic branding that I speak off, as their nonverbal communication is what gets them to the question and answer portion. Let me reiterate, the introductory video done before the competition is paramount as it is the first brand image that the world receives of our contestant and if done poorly, first impressions are hard to change. ABG: Profiling by police is a hot topic not only in the states (e.g. Trayvon Martin), but locally. However, do you believe dress plays a part in this? If so, do you believe these police actions are justifiable? DRC: Individuals are profiled every day by peers and society members. Profiling is basically the practice of attempting to understand who individuals are based on what we have learned through cultural and familial socialization, past experiences and stereotypes. Dress is the strongest nonverbal communicator and is

laden with meanings that we use, consciously or subconsciously, to categorize individuals as safe vs threatening, rich vs poor, educated vs noneducated, etc. I will say profiling is useful, however, like in everything it can be abused by individuals in positions of power who have racial and socio-economic prejudices. ABG: Crossfit… Really? How do you manage and why? (Is it a branding mechanism?) DRC: Yes really. (Smiles) I love Crossfit because it promotes women being strong and moreover it builds mental fortitude. I have found that

ABG: Who is more receptive to what you specialize in teaching, US or local? DRC: I would say the US is more receptive because the apparel industry has always been one of the oldest, most developed, and sustainable industries. For any industry to be successful you have to have skilled workers to employ. Trinidad’s apparel/fashion industry is still very young and there is still a lack of understanding of the scope of careers that one can specialize in upon graduation. I think there is still a limited view that an education in ‘fashion’ is only geared towards design.

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Is Trinidad Becoming A Welfare State? Written by Philipa Paul


ounding Father of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson said “The purpose of government is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness. Government exists for the interests of the governed, not for the governors.” This is very close to the definition of a welfare state which stresses public responsibility for those in the society who are unable to make a good life for themselves. There are those who view the welfare state as good and responsible government but this is not a view shared by everyone. In fact one of Jefferson’s fellow founding fathers Benjamin Franklin said, “I am for doing good to the poor, but...I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it..” The question is Is Trinidad and Tobago on its way to becoming a welfare state? The arm of the government that is responsible for social and human development is

the Ministry of the People and Social Development so it this ministry that would offer social programmes to assist those unable to fend for themselves. First of all who are citizens who would need and qualify for assistance from the state? This group would involve old people, or people who have reached beyond the age of retirement. It would also include children in need, persons with disabilities and persons who are the victims of natural disasters, among other needy persons. For those beyond the age of retirement, the government provides a pension grant of a maximum of $3,000.00 per month once they are not receiving a pension from a previous place of work. While there are provisions made for all the other groups as well, we have all seen reports in the media of persons who fall into one of these categories, who are asking for help from members of the public because the government agencies have either been too slow in delivering assis-

tance or have passed them over altogether. For instance persons with disabilities are supposed to get assistance in the areas of physical infrastructure and transport, sport and recreation, information and communication, education, employment and housing. While efforts are being made, the ministry still has a long way to go to fulfill this mandate. This Ministry does offer several programmes to those in need including the Target Conditional Cash Transfer Programme( TCCTP) which offers food assistance in the form of a food card and the Unemployment Relief Programme(URP) which offers short-term employment. Both these programmes are intended to be temporary and recipients are supposed to receive career and life skills training to enable them to move beyond the programmes to more sustainable employment. When social programmes such as these become part of the problem and not the solution is

when the recipients make them a way of life rather than a stepping stone to something more sustainable. There are many instances in both the URP and TCCTP of people who remain on these programmes for several years while not looking for work or attempting to learn the skills that will help them to move forward. It is important for the government agencies involved in social development programmes to be more vigilant and to ensure that the persons who are receiving benefits are the ones who need them and that they receive the necessary training and motivation to move ahead. While I concede that the government is attempting to be one that protects the health and well-being of its neediest citizens, I feel that it still has some way to go before it can claim that this country operates as a welfare state. Of course Benjamin Franklin would say that that is a good thing but that would be a whole different discussion.

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Small Business

The Future Of Dog Breeding In Jeopardy

Business Likely To Suffer Due To Government Regulations


Written by Leah Lewis ogs are unique animals that are loved the world over. They are sometimes considered to be extended family members, companions, guard watches or even aids to the visually impaired. These warm and fuzzy animals can be both a handful and a joy to engage with. However, an elite group known as the 'Class A' dogs is slowly dismantling the loveable image of dogs here in Trinidad and Tobago. Within the last few months, dog attacks have increased leaving several people badly injured and two dead. These events have sparked intense conversations across the land and as such emotions are running high. Some have claimed that the dogs are at fault while others rest sole responsibility on the owners. In an effort to ensure order and safety the government has revisited the Dangerous Dogs bill. The 2013 Dangerous Dogs Bill offers several stipulations for owning and securing dogs. Under the bill dogs are sepaThe owner of a Class A dog is rated into two categories: Class obligated to hold a policy of A dogs are considered as the more dangerous types of dogs. insurance with coverage of not less than $250,000 for each dog These include: the Pitbull Terrier, Fila Brasilero, Japanese Tosa and any dog which is bred a leash and muzzled or unless dog if necessary. Owners of from any of these breeds. Class the dog is a guide dog. Class A both Class A and Class B dogs B dogs are simply all other dogs must be licensed and the must be trained by a certified types of dogs. The purpose of license is valid for a period of trainer. Failure to comply with the the bill is to outline dog control two years. The Local Governstipulation and to regulate the manner in ment Ministry possesses the aforementioned which certain breeds of dog are power to take charge of a Class is an offence and is liable to a kept by their owners. The own- A dog where the owner is un- fine of $50,000 and to impriser of a Class A dog is obligated able to fulfil the requirements onment for one year. The bill to hold a policy of insurance of the Act. The legislation pro- further states that where a with coverage of not less than posed empowers a magistrate Class A dog injures a person, $250,000 for each dog. Such to issue a warrant authorising the owner or keeper of the dog dogs are not allowed to enter a a constable to enter and search commits an offence and is lipublic place unless they are on premises and seize a Class A able on summary conviction 18 ABSTRACT BUSINESS • SEPTEMBER, 2013 • www.abstractbusinesstt.com

to a fine of $100,000 and to imprisonment for five years. In a situation where a class A dog kills a person or causes the death of a person, its owner or keeper commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $200,000 and to imprisonment for 10 years. These are heavy fines for dog owners and bad news for those in the dog breeding business. Dog breeding in Trinidad and Tobago is quite popular. However the fines expected to be imposed and the impending potential jail sentences are enough to break the breeding phenomenon. Jean –Claude Al-Jmayel, vice president of the Trinidad and Tobago Canine Advocates group has expressed his displeasure with the manner in which dog owners train their animals. He outlined irresponsibility and the training of dogs in aggression without any form of obedience as a key factor in the increasing violent attacks. He believes that pitbulls are social animals but owners are not properly socialising their animals and this is what is causing increased attacks. AlJmayel stated that as a result, breeding of pitbulls locally has almost come to a halt since their demand has been drastically reduced. The business of breeding is no longer viable. The passing of the law in the Upper and Lower house has heavily influenced the stoppage of the breeding of these types of dogs. This has left breeders with several puppies on their hands that they now have to sell below their value. As it stands, breeding has temporarily halted until another breed can be identified.


Small Business

Fireworks: A Seasonal Enterprise


veryone loves fireworks and even though it may seem like the same show every year, you can’t help but watch as the bright lights explode and light up the night sky. It brings families together and forms a stronger bond amongst friends. Little children jump at the loud BOOMs and BANGs but they too can’t help but ask for more. At the other end of the stick, what do fireworks companies do when there isn’t an occasion that calls for their products? In the latter half of the year, July to December, fireworks are in great demand. National holidays come one after the other, from Emancipation Day to Independence Day to Divali, Christmas and New Years. This is peak season for most fireworks companies in Trinidad. However, for the first half of the year, the sale of fireworks is almost non-existent. How then do fireworks companies generate revenue to sustain their business when sales drastically decrease? The owner of Extreme Fireworks Mr. Zameer Ali stated that he has other businesses, which generate a steady income throughout the year. He also said that the sale of fireworks is dependent on the demographics that make up the area in which the business is located. Therefore, in central, around Divali, fireworks sales are through the roof while the other branches in the north don’t experience this drastic increase in sales. As a result, the other outlets are not operational throughout the year and are only opened up again when there is a predicted increase in sales such as for Independence

Written by Rhoshenda Ellis

or New Years. Another company, FireOne Fireworks recently opened up a Patriotic Flag Division in 2009. Since launching this division, they have supplied the large National Flag in Macoya which can be seen from as far as Central Trinidad, they supplied all the National Flags for the 5th Summit of the Americas and they provide the majority of businesses with the small red, black and white flags that line the buildings in town around Independence and Republic day. Their aim is to increase national patriotism amongst our nationals and by doing this they increase their sales all year round and boost customer loyalty. Other store such as Sports n

Games and Kenny’s Sports Outlet also sells fireworks. Similar to the other companies, their sales are high from Independence to Carnival but throughout the rest of the year, they cease the sale of the item. This is because the use of fireworks during off-season, though it is not a federal charge, can be seen as disturbance of the peace. Many senior citizen homes and pet owners complain about the startling noises these explosives release and the effects they have on their patients. When the fireworks arm of these sports outlets are discontinued, regular sale of sporting items is used to support the business. All fireworks companies have agreed that generally, the

sale of fireworks has increased all year round. Even at national holidays, larger qualities of fireworks are purchased by corporate entities and organizations. On the flip side, when fireworks are not in high demand, the companies often rely on the other divisions for support or may become distributors of entirely separate products. This diversity in products boosts the company’s revenue especially in times when fireworks cannot be used, for example during the State of Emergency in 2010. Fireworks are seasonal and the use of the item arbitrarily is a disturbance of the peace but it is not illegal. One would think the sale of this item was simple but think again; fireworks are serious business!

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Analyzing Technology In Policing


n September 9th 2013 (Budget day) it was revealed that the biggest allocation of funds in the country’s history would be given to the National Security sector. A whopping 6.5-billon dollars was allocated (only bested by the Education sector which received 9.8 billion dollars). There is no doubt that technology has changed the dynamics in society, but to say that this is a wise investment, let us first look at the potential outcomes of such investment. The police fleet is constantly being either repaired or expanded and while as for obvious reasons, patrol cars are important it can be more effective if these cars became technologically in advance. Of course this is not referring to referring to switching a 1.5 engine to a 2.5 in the vehicles but; built in laptop computers, in-car cameras, automated license plate readers and multi-band radios. According to Police Chief Magazine these investments will lead to “a much more “wired” officer. The technology is designed to make the officer more efficient, more effective, more

knowledgeable, and better able to spend time on patrol interfacing with the community by improving reporting capabilities and eliminating the need to return to headquarters to complete and submit reports.” On the spot updates can also lead to more accurate information and computerized data. How many times have we witnessed accidents on our roads and the participants involved begin to point fingers at each other as being the wrong one or heard stories about robberies taking place in daylight? My guess is too many times. However with the increase of CCTV cameras on street corners we may finally have a solution to these problems. It can also help to identify witnesses to a crime. Ideally, CCTV cameras can be an aid to the police force and citizens of Trinidad. UK police officer, John Denham believes CCTV cameras help to prevent crimes and help citizens feel safe. “Knowing that there is an extra set of eyes watching over their communities helps to reassure people that they will be safe. It also acts as an important set of eyes for the police, providing valu-

“Knowing that there is an extra set of eyes watching over their communities helps to reassure people that they will be safe. It also acts as an important set of eyes for the police, providing valuable evidence when incidents occur”

able evidence when incidents occur.” With the influx of various crime investigation drama series, people are being to wonder can DNA really help solve cases. Telegraph UK says yes it can. According to their website it is believed that the invention of a new DNA machine can help police track down criminals in under an hour. “The portable technology, which is about the same size as piece of airline carry on luggage, uses a rapid form of DNA profiling to produce a genetic fingerprint from blood, saliva and skin cells left at crime scenes.” DNA can also clamp down on illegal immigrants with finger printing technology. Indeed the introduction of DNA technology can be seen as an aid to policing and a major step forward for the Trinidad and Tobago police force. While as these investments can seem farfetched, it is possible to obtain as most of the world has taken up this route already. Chief Police Magazine revealed these astounding statistics “two-thirds of police

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departments throughout the nation reported regularly using video cameras, and well over half (61 percent) reported using video cameras in patrol cars. The deployment of in-car video cameras has increased markedly since the year 2000 in agencies of all sizes.” Our attempts to contact persons at various police stations were futile at first as all our calls were unanswered. This can be quite frustrating to any caller trying to report an incident; a solution to this would be to institute automated voice messengers to become active when no one is able to take calls. Eventually we were able to speak with a reliable source from the St. James police station regarding technological advances aiding the police service. He said “technology is constantly evolving and it is highly important for the police service to be equipped with proper tools.” He further mentioned that both the CCTV cameras and DNA technology would be an asset to the police service.




Exploring Enterprise Mobility Strategies

rinidad is undoubtedly one of the most promising business centres in the world (especially the Caribbean). However, while we are privy to some of the best technology across the globe, many of us have not adopted its use to maximum effect. There is so much that can be done to boost our business competitiveness with the aid of technology. For instance, what is stopping us from truly exploring BYOD (Bring your own Device) strategies in more corporations? Surely, this enhances enterprise mobility. However, there are some things that must be taken into account in order for us to fully access the benefits of enterprise mobility. Here are some considerations. Strategies must suit your organizational goals This is a general recommendation that should guide the entire enterprise mobility process. Firms must deploy solutions that address their objectives and integrate corporate data and applications. Strategies should be customizable to business needs, specifically considering how the workforce wants to and should work based on their roles and responsibilities. There must be a point man It is highly recommended that there is a designated mobile operations professional who can coordinate and align efforts related to device management, security, mobile application development, carrier relationships and mobile network deployments. You are not likely to find one person who is your RF engi-

stored. Fortunately, remote deletion capability is much more sophisticated these days, and a company can remove just enterprise-related data from a device and leave all the other content intact. When creating a BYOD strategy, remote deletion should always be part of the policy, and shouldn’t require employee sign-off before it’s done because situations like theft, loss, or employee malfeasance make timing an issue.

neer/network architect/mobile device management guru, but at least designate someone who can sit at the top of a pyramid organization and has some familiarity with the different domains. There can be no proper management of a person, policy or strategy without someone to oversee it. Staff has to be trained and educated to accelerate adoption Look for ways to experiment with mobile solutions in small functional or line-of-business groups. Secure a few early wins and take what you’ve learned into broader rollouts. In addition, partner with mobility specialists that have a holistic view of all the possible processes and outcomes. Commit to documenting mobility policies It is absolutely necessary to have a well-documented mobility policy in place. The policy has to be educational to the em-

ployees, as well. Based on the policy, the technology has to be put into place. Having a clear mobility policy will help the enterprise strategically. Mobile policies and their implementation will help the enterprise to understand the purpose of individual mobile projects and how they fit into the mobile enterprise strategy as a whole. Governmental business and labour regulations make establishing mobile policies all the more important. Make sure remote deletion is available Security is the main issue when considering BYOD. Devices get lost or employees leave a company, and suddenly all that corporate information on a smartphone becomes a security threat. In the past, a company could use “remote wipe” technology to delete all data, but with a personal device, this method also trashed family photos, personal contacts, apps, music and anything else that’s

Continuous evaluation is key Technology is constantly changing, as are corporations and the environments in which they compete. In order to really grow and improve, companies must regularly examine and reexamine whether or not their strategies are working and what else needs to be done. Select the correct service provider Your enterprise mobility solution is only as strong as your service provider no matter how much policies you try to implement. After all, mobility does not mean just putting up random apps on your device. It essentially means devising mobile solutions that drive business transformation and create better opportunities for customer engagement. For example, in financial verticals, banks can employ mobile banking solutions; giving their customers a whole lot of features that are easily accessible on their phone to enhance their banking experience with the firm. So the provider you choose should have the relevant experience in providing solutions for your industry vertical.

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Developing the Entrepreneur

Expert Reveals Underrated Aspects Of Human Resource Management


uman resource management is the management of an organization's workforce, or human resources. It is responsible for the attraction, selection, training, assessment, and rewarding of employees, while also overseeing organizational leadership and culture and ensuring compliance with employment and labor laws. The Human Resource Department also works together with the other departments in a company to manage the affairs of the workers since staff productivity should be everyone’s business. However, being responsible for such a large portfolio can often lead to the department overlooking its minor functions. In an interview with Mr. Sheppard, HR Director at the University of the West Indies, he shared light on aspects of Human Resource Management that are often underrated. He first spoke about management’s inability to design new jobs or reinvent old ones. Mr. Sheppard said, “Insufficient attention is paid to how jobs are designed. By default, the job is designed badly and this may have a negative effect on an employee.” He said that generally, a job description is made by asking an employee what he/she did when in actuality, job design is governed by five basic principles: skill variety, task significance, task identity, autonomy and feedback. The main reason this aspect of HR is often overlooked is that it is not officially taught in business school curriculum and the average supervisor is unaware of these principles. If it were to be

Written by Rhoshenda Ellis

included in the academic arena, better jobs would be available on the market and staff would be more motivated. Another aspect frequently underrated is staff recognition. Mr. Sheppard reported, “Most of the staff work hard but generally they are not formally recognized in local companies.” How often do you see an employee of the month plaque? Most employees often complain that the selection process for recognition is very subjective and biased. Management may not be objective in analyzing the excellent work done by their employees. Also, recognition of staff frequently results in conflict amongst workers since some staff members may be in disagreement with the person selected for recognition.

In this case, this method causes more harm than good. Staff appreciation is also another aspect that is cast in the shadows. How often do you tell the cleaners or the security in your workplace, thank you? Now, I know what you are thinking; “They are being paid to do their job so isn’t that appreciation enough?” Dictionary.com defines appreciation as the act of estimating the qualities of things and giving them their proper value. Do you really think the hourly wage the ground staff is paid adds up to the value of their job done? Saying thank you fills a place that money cannot begin to find. The lack of appreciation for workers is as a result of the society we live in. Staff appreciation is one of the easiest and

least expensive ways a company can motivate staff and make employees feel like they matter in the corporate world. Human Resource Management is a very important department in any business. It is a part of the corporate anatomy and a strong human resource team blends well with developing a good public image. Ensuring that employees are aware of their job portfolio is just as important as selecting the right staff for the job itself. Staff recognition and appreciation is inexpensive and plays a key role in keeping workers interested in their jobs. No aspect of human resource should be overlooked or underrated and a change in the mindset of our society is the first step to fix this problem.

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Managing Employee Turnover


s employee retention a recurring issue in a position or several positions in an organization? Poorly defined job descriptions can contribute to that, but there are many more things that can impact high employee turnover. Poor employee retention can be a headache and a serious cost to your company as it requires spending money to source replacements and train them. Plus, productivity always takes a hit as new workers seek to adapt. Here are some measures you can take to reduce employee turnover. Goal alignment Every employee should have individual goals that are directly linked to higher-level organizational goals. These goals, like their job description, help to set expectations for performance, and give employees a context for their work. By linking their individual goals to corporate goals, employees understand how their day-today work contributes to the organization’s success and understand their value, which impacts employee engagement and retention. Realistic and Competitive Remuneration Offering a competitive and appealing compensation and benefits package is important too. Work with human resources to get current data on industry pay packages, and get creative when necessary with benefits, flexible work schedules and

bonus structures. Once a year review compensation and benefits packages. Offer flexitime Offer flexible schedule adjustments that show respect for an employee’s need to balance work, career, education, and community ( job sharing, flex time, telecommuting, full time to part time and back again) and do it all without jeopardizing advancement opportunities. Working parents are especially likely to leave a company if they’re unable to fit family obligations into their schedules. Offer eligible employees the opportunity to work flexible hours and telecommute when possible. Show Interest Show an active interest in your staff's welfare and enjoyment in their employment. Don't wait until the once a year interview. You could try offering a company Social Club, or staff picnics, or a newsletter primarily for and about the staff rather than a strictly business newsletter. Do any of your staff do things like volunteer work, or work with Boy scouts, just for examples, because if they do, some recognition and perhaps some kind of donation or sponsorship towards their activity, sporting group, etc. would go a long way to ensure their loyalty and appreciation. Develop People Organizations that focus on employee development enjoy

higher employee satisfaction, which leads to lower turnover rates. If each employee has a concrete development plan that is reviewed at least annually and contains a variety of growth opportunities, the employee will have little reason to look for greener pastures elsewhere. Cross Train Employees, who have been trained on several different jobs recognize they are of higher value to the organization and tend to be less inclined to leave. Along with the pleasure of having more variety of work, employees appreciate the ability to take on additional skills. Having good bench strength allows the organization to function well, even during times of high vacation or illness. Evaluate your management team If you have had tremendous turnover in a certain role or department, it is time to evaluate if there is more to the story. Focusing on exit interviews is always a good practice, and you may discover weaknesses in management or company structure, that are an easy fix. Employees will often feel that they do not have a way out from a difficult management situation or an unpleasant boss, and they tend to feel the

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only option is to go to another place of employment and start over. Human Resources can be great to assist in this area, but the most important step is to gather information and address any management situation that might be occurring, before it becomes a repeated pattern. Regular performance appraisals A regular, formal performance appraisal is the best vehicle for ensuring employees are performing as expected and that they know and understand the competencies important to the organization and their role. It also tells if they have development plans in place, and have clearly defined goals. It helps set employees up for success and addresses many of the core needs for employee engagement. Performance appraisals form the foundation for an ongoing dialogue about performance between managers and employees and should serve as the central driver for all other talent management programs. Put more effort into the hiring process Obviously, proper HR recruiting is a great start. Many people who leave jobs were not the right individuals for the jobs in the first place. Thorough background checks and the right interview scrutiny should assist in making the right choice.



Apple's Shares Tank As New iPhones Fail To Dazzle Written by Eileen Soreng and Neha Alawadhi


pple Inc's shares slid 6 percent on Wednesday as a pricier-than-expected iPhone "5C" extinguished hopes of a major expansion into lower-end markets such as China did, while a fingerprint scanner-equipped premium version fell short on hardware advancements. The 5C and costlier 5S, introduced to much fanfare on Tuesday, won fans among some Wall Street analysts, who said preserving a premium price can safeguard Apple's already declining margins. Others said the world's most valuable technology company, under siege in Asia and other emerging markets from Samsung Electronics and China's Huawei, was missing an opportunity to reverse slipping market share and drive significant sales growth. The 5C's price appeared too lofty to fend off rivals in emerging markets. It will sell for 4,488 yuan ($730) in China, more than the average monthly urban income for the country and about $200 more than its price in the United States. Apple's shares slid 5.6 percent to a one-month low of $467.24 at midday after at least three brokerages downgraded the stock a notch, though four others raised their target prices. Nomura Equity Research increased its target to $480

from $420. If the drop in Apple's share price holds, the fall would be the biggest single-day slide since Jan 24. Still, Apple's shares climbed 28 percent between the start of July and September 9, before the Apple launch, as anticipation began building about the company's next iPhone. The iPhone 5S also disappointed investors accustomed to great things from a product that accounts for half or more of Apple's profit. "Investors were put off that Apple's price point didn't go low enough to attract a new market. It doesn't have the same range in price that Apple's competitors have," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia, which manages about $58 billion in assets. "Also, there was nothing transformational announced. It has the fingerprint scan and new colors, but bigger features, like different screen sizes, don't seem to be at the ready. This was less than expected from a company that has a reputation for surprising with a killer product or strategy." Credit Suisse analyst Kulbinder Garcha estimated that Apple's share of the smartphone market would fall to 15.5 percent this year and 13.1 next year, from 18.1 percent in 2012.

"Rather than offer attractive pricing for consumers, and move the iPhone 5C into a new and growing price segment, Apple retained a premium pricing strategy in targeting the $400-800 smartphone segment," Garcha said in a note. "This segment is not forecast to see meaningful growth long term. This decision, at the margin, is good for profitability but not growth," Garcha said. CHINA SYNDROME Apple's profit for the quarter ended June 29 fell 22 percent as gross margins fell below 37 percent from more than 42 percent in the earlier quarter. Nomura analyst Stuart Jeffrey said Apple may have ensured stable margins for the next couple of quarters by pricing the 5C at $99 with a contract and $549 without. This was not enough for BofA Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse or UBS, all of which downgraded Apple's stock to "neutral." Saying the 5C was "nobody's low-margin phone," Cowen and Co analyst Timothy Arcuri said Apple's new relationship with Japan's NTT DoCoMo Inc plus an expected tie-up with China Mobile Ltd supported the view that Wall Street's estimates for Apple earnings in 2014 looked too low. Arcuri said gross margins for the 5C appeared to be as high as in the mid-50 percent area. Raymond James and Associates maintained its "strong buy" recommendation on the

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stock and raised its share price target to $675 from $600, based on expected demand for the lower-end iPhone, coupled with the NTT DoCoMo relationship and the preservation of gross margins. Canaccord Genuity kept its "buy" rating on the stock and raised its target price to $550 from $530, citing Apple's aggressive launch plans in more than 100 countries by year-end. The brokerage also raised its 2014 estimate for iPhone sales to 180 million units from 177 million. Analysts at UBS Securities said that even if Apple secures a partnership deal with China Mobile in the near term, it will have a hard time competing against Google Inc Android devices made by Samsung and others, priced 40 percent to 50 percent lower than the iPhone 5C. UBS, which cut its rating on Apple's stock to "neutral" from "buy," cited a survey of 35,000 Chinese consumers conducted by ChinaDaily.com that indicated only 2.6 percent of respondents would consider buying the cheaper iPhone at the $549 price. "We worry that Apple's inability/unwillingness to come out with a low-priced offering for emerging markets nearly ensures that the company will continue to be an overall share loser in the smartphone market until it chooses to address the low end," Sanford C. Bernstein analysts said in a note.



August Stock Summary Courtesy The Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange

Written Report for Friday 30th August 2013


verall Market activity resulted from trading in 9 securities of which 3 advanced, 0 declined and 6 traded firm. Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 1,355,451 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $2,064,354.64. JAMAICA MONEY MARKET BROKERS LIMITED was the volume leader with 700,000 shares changing hands for a value of $350,000.00, followed by TRINIDAD CEMENT LIMITED with a volume of

472,131 shares being traded for $1,387,609.14. NATIONAL FLOUR MILLS LIMITED contributed 148,444 shares with a value of $111,333.00, while SAGICOR FINANCIAL CORPORATION added 23,200 shares valued at $158,920.00. TRINIDAD CEMENT LIMITED enjoyed the day's largest gain, increasing $0.38 to end the day at $2.94. CLICO INVESTMENT FUND was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 7,500 shares valued at $161,283.00. CLICO INVESTMENT FUND


Stocks Advancing: Security


Closing Quote ($)

Change ($)














Closing Quote ($)



















* The Composite Index advanced by 2.08 points (0.19%) to close at 1,123.03. * The All T&T Index advanced by 2.21 points (0.12%) to close at 1,828.57. * The Cross Listed Index advanced by 0.24 points (0.44%) to close at 54.48. * The Composite Index comprises all Ordinary companies. * The All TTSE Index comprises Trinidadian companies only. * The Cross Listed Index comprises companies originating outside of Trinidad & Tobago.

28 ABSTRACT BUSINESS • SEPTEMBER, 2013 • www.abstractbusinesstt.com

FUND remained at $5.00. PRAETORIAN PROPERTY MUTUAL FUND remained at $3.41. The Second Tier Market did not witness any activity. FNCU VENTURE CAPITAL COMPANY LIMITED (SUSPENDED) remained at $1.00. MORA VEN HOLDINGS LIMITED remained at $14.97.

Abstract B.G Is Published By Abstract Media Group, Premium Commercial Complex, San Juan, Trinidad, W.I. • Tel: (868) 638 1156/9 • Fax: (868) 638 1160. Printed By The Office Authority - Printing Division And Distributed By AMG

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