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Editorial Board

Richard Lewis ���������������������������� Chairman, Prestige Business Publications Ltd Keith Miller ���������������������������������� Chief Executive Officer, Caribbean Business Publications Inc, Barbados Shyamal ����������������������������������������� Vice President, Investor Sourcing, InvesTT Chandradathsingh

Trinidad & Tobago

Wade George ����������������������������� Tax Managing Director, Ernst & Young Caribbean John Gransaull ��������������������������� ASCO Trinidad Limited Rudolph Hanamji ���������������������� Manager, Marketing and Communications,

Trinidad & Tobago International Financial Centre (TTIFC)

Halima Khan �������������������������������� Communications Officer, Trinidad & Tobago

Credits Joint Publishers - Richard Lewis, Keith Miller Editor - Kay Baldeosingh-Arjune Design - 809 Design Associates Inc. Layout & Artwork - Patrice Letren, Soraya Gonsalves, Patricia Lewis Production - Patricia Lewis, Soraya Gonsalves Photography Ash Allen Photography, Christopher Anderson, Aujourd’hui Studio, Edison Boodoosingh, Stephen Broadbridge, John Bryden, Paul Low Chew Tung, Richard Lyder, Maria Nunes, Stephen Jay Photography, Jason Sookermany, Marlon Rouse, The Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago. Cover photo: Marlon Rouse

Chamber of Industry and Commerce Inshan Meahjohn ����������������������� Assistant Vice President Entrepreneurship & Technology Commercialization,

The University of Trinidad & Tobago (UTT)

Patricia Lewis ����������������������������� Director, Prestige Business Publications Ltd Marie Gurley ������������������������������� Director, Prestige Business Publications Ltd Kay Baldeosingh-Arjune ������� Editor, Business Trinidad and Tobago Soraya Gonsalves ��������������������� Operations Manager, Prestige Business

Publications Ltd

Business Trinidad & Tobago is published and produced by: Prestige Business Publications Ltd. The Film Centre, 9 Humphrey Street, St James, Trinidad and Tobago Tel: (868) 622-0738/9 Fax: (868) 622-0426 Email: Website:

Copyright© 2017 Prestige Business Publications Ltd All information in this publication has been carefully collected and prepared, but it is still subject to change and correction. Use these contents for general guidance only and seek extra assistance from a professional adviser with regard to any specific matters. Copyright reserved. None of the contents in this publication can be reproduced or copied in any form without permission in writing from the publisher. Printed by: ScripJ, Republic of Trinidad & Tobago.

2 • Business Trinidad & Tobago


From the Publisher


n the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. - Albert Einstein Even though it took a genius to make that statement many decades ago, it does not take a genius to recognise that the existing state of difficulty in Trinidad and Tobago’s economy in 2017 presents the private sector with many opportunities for investment, in the form of Local Direct Investment (LDI) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The 2017-2018 edition of Business Trinidad and Tobago is intended to map out for our readers the areas of opportunity that have recently been exploited, and those which are becoming much more apparent as we approach the second quarter of 2017. There can be no doubt that the existing availability of foreign exchange to the Business Sector is a challenge to the re-emergence of activity in the Retail Sector. It is clear, therefore, that a holistic, country-wide, urgent FOREX earning strategy, as well as FOREX saving strategy, must be executed through productive Export and Import Replacement Investments for both Goods and Services. This must be further strengthened by Public-Private investment in high, local value-added activities such as Agriculture, Tourism and Construction. This edition is filled with some very exciting narrative around such investment opportunities. It must be said, however, that the Energy Sector, and investment in winning - not losing - enterprises or activities, will continue to drive this economy for the next 20 years. Such investment will

4 • Business Trinidad & Tobago

Richard Lewis Chairman Prestige Business Publications Ltd

certainly be around gas assurance for productive, high value-added export industries to prosper and provide the Government with much-needed revenue and recurrent and capital expenditure. There is little chance over the next 10 years that any other sector will replace this scale of revenue. Having been through two deep recessions in Trinidad and Tobago, we know - first-hand, as businessmen - that the T&T economy, its businesses and its talented people will rally, re-organise, and re-emerge planted in a much stronger, sustainable foundation, ready to reach new heights. It is also our belief that the private sector will be the engine of growth again, as it was after both recessions when we hit rock bottom with a very loud thud. This is the story we see unfolding through this and subsequent editions of our publication. We are positive thinkers and Business Trinidad and Tobago embodies all positive thought content and positive journalism. We hope that everyone who interacts with this publication will share the vision that we had when the Editorial Committee met to declare on the theme and content of this edition. Perhaps our selected theme “The T&T Advantage” could have a tagline similar to a North American neighbour’s and be: “Make T&T great again!”

Richard Lewis

Keith Miller

Keith Miller Chief Executive Officer Caribbean Business Publications Inc

2017 - 2018 CALENDAR


APRIL 2017

14th – Good Friday

MAY 2017

1st Mar-30th Sep – Turtle Watching Season

16th – Easter Sunday

1st – Jazz Artists on the Greens, Farm Road, St. Joseph

17th – Easter Monday

1st-2nd – TTGA ‘Trinidad & Tobago Open Tournament,’ St. Andrew’s Golf Club, Moka, Maraval

22nd-30th – Tobago Jazz Experience

5th – Distinguished Leadership & Innovation Conference (DLIC) 2017, Hyatt Regency Trinidad Contact: Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business – (868) 645-6700

2nd – San Fernando Fashion Week, Port of Spain Contact: (868) 722-6059

18th – Buccoo Goat and Crab Race Festival, Buccoo Integrated Facility, Tobago

29th-30th – ‘Sagicor St. Andrew’s Invitational,’ St. Andrew’s Golf Club, Moka, Maraval 26th – Administrative Professionals Day

4th-8th – TTGFA ‘Marlin Madness Tournament,’ Tobago

26th–29th – District 7030 Conference 2017, Hyatt Regency Trinidad

14th-17th – Easter International UCI Cycling Grand Prix The Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation

26th–30th – ‘NGC Bocas Lit Fest,’ T&T Literary Festival, NALIS Amphitheatre, Abercromby Street, Port of Spain Contact: (868) 222-7099 Email:

7th – World Health Day

6 • Business Trinidad & Tobago

5th-7th – DECIBEL, Queen’s Hall, Port of Spain 17th-18th – 6th Caribbean Facilities Management Conference & Expo 2017, Hyatt Regency Trinidad Contact: Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce Sharmin Boodoo – (868) 637-6966 Ext. 1252 Email: or 19th-21st – Trinidad and Tobago Fashion Weekend, Pigeon Point Heritage Park, Tobago Contact: (868) 687-5692; 759-3035

2017 - 2018 CALENDAR

The National Cycling Centre. Photo: Richard Lyder

20th – St. Andrew’s Golf Club – SAGC Corporate Tournament

3rd – ‘First Citizen’s Monthly Medal,’ St Andrew’s Golf Club, Moka, Maraval

22nd-24th – 6th Geological Conference, Hyatt Regency Trinidad Contact: Geological Society of Trinidad and Tobago - (868) 679-6064

15th – Corpus Christi

26th – Scotiabank Against Breast Cancer Golf Tournament 26th-28th – The Borders Festival, Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain Contact: (868) 784-3732 Email: 30th – Indian Arrival Day

JUNE 2017 5th – World Environment Day 10th – Massy Rainbow Cup 2017 International Triathlon, Tobago

17th-18th – Tobago Dragon Boat Festival 19th – Labour Day 19th – Horse Racing, Santa Rosa Park TBD – Eid Al Fitr TBD - ‘Dining with the Saints,’ CIC College Compound, Frederick Street, Port of Spain

JULY 2017 31st - 1st Aug – Tobago Heritage Festival, Various Villages, Tobago Events continue through to November Contact: (868) 639-5016/4441

6th-9th - Trinidad & Tobago Manufacturers’ Association Trade & Investment Convention (TIC), Centre of Excellence, Macoya Road, Tunapuna 15th – St. Andrew’s Golf Club – Gentlemen Seniors Classic Tournament 26th-30th – Great Fete Weekend, Tobago 29th-30th – TTGFA’s ‘Tarpon Thunder,’ Fishing Tournament, Trinidad TBD – ‘Trinidad & Tobago Mango Festival,’ NAMDEVCO Market, Macoya Contact: (868) 683-4251

2nd – St. Andrew’s Golf Club - TTMCO Sponsored Tournament Dates in blue are public holidays.

Business Trinidad & Tobago • 7

2017 - 2018 CALENDAR


11th – ‘Champions of Business,’ National Academy For The Performing Arts (NAPA), Port of Spain Contact: Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce Sharmin Boodoo – (868) 637-6966 Ext. 1252 Email: or

DECEMBER 2017 4th – Tobago Day Website: 8th – St. Andrew’s Golf Club Men’s Christmas Hamper Photo: Maria Nunes

AUGUST 2017 1st – Emancipation Day 1st – Horse Racing, Santa Rosa Park 1st -31st - ‘Experience T&T 2017,’ T&T Incoming Tour Operators Association Contact: (868) 633-1403 26th – The Carib Great Race 26th – Pan on d’Avenue VI, Woodbrook 31st - Independence Day 31st – Trinidad & Tobago Independence Day Parade, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Bacolet, Tobago 31st – Trinidad & Tobago Independence Day Fireworks, Port of Spain and San Fernando, Trinidad; and Scarborough, Tobago

SEPTEMBER 2017 9th – TTGFA’s ‘Kingfish Tournament’ 19th – 1st International Caribbean Building, Construction & Real Estate Exhibition – Centre of Excellence, Macoya Road, Tunapuna Contact: AME TRADE LTD, London, U.K – +44 (0) 207 700 4949 Email:

19th-26th – trinidad+tobago film/17 festival

10th – St. Andrew’s Golf Club Ladies’ Christmas Hamper

24th – Republic Day

11th – St. Andrew’s Golf Club – Caddies’ Christmas Hamper

25th – Republic Day (observed)

25th – Christmas Day

25th – ‘Trinidad Derby,’ Horse Racing, Santa Rosa Park

26th – Boxing Day

27th – World Tourism Day

31st – ‘Barefoot on the Beach,’ Mt. Irvine Beach Hotel, Tobago Contact: (868) 639-8871



7th-8th – Chinese Arrival Dragon Boat Festival, Chaguaramas Boardwalk

1st – New Year’s Day

15th – Tobago Blue Food Festival, Tobago 16th – World Food Day 24th – United Nations Day TBD – Divali

22nd-24th – Trinidad and Tobago Energy Conference 2018, Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain


TBD – AMCHAM T&T’s 21st Annual HSSE Conference & Exhibition Contact: AMCHAM – (868) 622-4466 TBD – Fatima Food Fest

12th – J’Ouvert


MARCH 2018

9th-10th – Annual Caribbean Conference of Accountants Contact: ICATT - (868) 623-8000

1st Mar-30th Sep – Turtle Watching Season

12th-13th – Carnival Monday & Tuesday – Parade of the Bands (most businesses closed) 14th – Ash Wednesday

30th – Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day 30th – Good Friday Dates in blue are public holidays.

8 • Business Trinidad & Tobago


Contents 12 - Facilitating Business and Investment

Message from the Minister of Trade & Industry Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon

14 - Unlocking The T&T Advantage

30 - T&T Government Re-evaluates Energy Sector

From the Editor, Kay Baldeosingh-Arjune

18 - Doing Business in Latin America

34 - BP Expects Significant Growth From T&T Operations

American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (AmCham T&T)

35 - NGC Priority In 2017 Aggressive Pursuit Of Gas

22 - Non-energy Investment Opportunities

Raphael John-Lall

Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce

26 - From T&T to the World Christian George, Research Officer Trinidad and Tobago Maunufacturers’ Association (TTMA)

Raphael John-Lall

36 - Testimonial

Range Resources Trinidad Limited

38 - Finding Opportunity in Times of Turbulence

Maria Daniel, Partner, Transaction Advisory Services, Ernst & Young Services Limited

42 - Brownfield Gold InvesTT

44 - Banking on Our Assets

10 • Business Trinidad & Tobago

Bankers Association of Trinidad & Tobago


48 - Fantastic Opportunities Await Construction Sector

Trinidad and Tobago Contractors Association

52 - Making Agriculture Sexy Again

Bavina Sookdeo

76 - Institutional Advantage exporTT

78 - Supporting Investment, Enabling Business

80 – Prime Commercial Real Estate Up for Grabs

56 - Tamana InTech Park – Prime Real Estate for Wealth Creation InvesTT

58 - T&T’s Exceptional Creative Advantage

Roslyn Carrington

62 - Sports Tourism T&T Warm…Welcoming…World-Class

Sheldon Waithe

64 - Where the World Meets 70 - Trinidad & Tobago’s ICT Advantage

Bevil Wooding, Internet Strategist, Packet Clearing House; Chief Knowledge Officer of Congress WBN.

74 - Building Your Star Team Locally

University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT)

Association of Real Estate Agents (AREA)

82 – Destination Tobago New Vision, New Drive, New Investment Possibilities

Tobago House of Assembly (THA)

86 - Useful Information

Stock Market Review Fast Facts Guide Trinidad Contact Information Tobago Contact Information Advertisers’ Listing

BT&T BUSINESS BUZZ 29 - Trade and Investment Convention 37 - Stork Technical Services Trinidad and Tobago Ltd 41 - Ernst & Young Services Limited 66 - Pigeon Point Heritage Park 68 - MovieTowne 75 - Aegis 81 - The Beacon Insurance Company Ltd.

Mariska Seereeram, Head of Talent & Development, Aegis Business Solutions Ltd

Business Trinidad & Tobago • 11


Message from the Minister of Trade & Industry Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon

Facilitating Business and Investment


he Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, in its Official Policy Framework, has given a clear indication of its commitment to creating a facilitative environment for all investors. To this end, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) is committed to its mandate to expand exports, particularly in the non-energy sector; facilitate and attract investment; support the development of globally competitive businesses to contribute to the sustainable growth and diversification of the economy; all while ensuring consumer protection and empowerment.

Minister of Trade & Industry Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon

12 • Business Trinidad & Tobago

World-Class Economic Spaces In providing the necessary economic spaces, the Government has recently completed Phase 1 of the Tamana InTech Park (TIP) - the Caribbean’s largest Science and Technology Park. This Park spans 1,100 acres of land and is guaranteed to increase Trinidad and Tobago’s visibility on the global map as a commercial centre primarily for technology and innovation. The Park currently offers 21 lots ranging in size from one to 21 acres. These fully approved and serviced industrial lots are available for lease to industries involved in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Data Processing and Data Processing Centres, Animation and Software Development, High Value Manufacturing/Assembly and Financial Services. The presence of the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) at the Park creates the necessary synergy between industry and academia required for cutting-edge research and managing innovation and intellectual property. Trinidad and Tobago is also the

first Caribbean country to develop an aerotropolis (an airport city). The Piarco AeroPark offers investors a premium business location - an easily accessible and dynamic environment that merges people and businesses, hospitality and services, and shops and amenities. The national investment promotion agency, InvesTT Ltd, is responsible for tenanting both parks. The agency’s role is to facilitate both local and international investors’ needs by fast tracking regulatory approvals. The Ministry of Trade and Industry is currently bolstering the agency’s capacity to excel in investment promotion. The success of the agency, thus far, has been recognised globally


Photo: Christopher Anderson

by Site Selection Magazine as one of the “Best to Invest Top Agencies” for 2015. Additionally, the agency also received the “Best Investment Attraction Agency Latin America & Caribbean National Award” as one of the top Investment Promotion Agencies for the Latin American and Caribbean region. IPPAs The Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago has entered into Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (IPPAs) with 14 countries, and is expanding this list with a view to developing the legal framework and ensuring investors a minimum standard of treatment in all related matters. Trinidad

and Tobago is also a signatory to 12 free trade or preferential trading agreements that, together, offer a potential market size of just under one billion persons. The Ministry of Trade and Industry is currently enhancing market access opportunities with several Latin American countries. Improving Efficiency The Government is steadfast in its resolve to promote efficiency, transparency and cost-effectiveness as well as to bridge any gaps that may exist between the Government, the private sector and citizens. Among the initiatives in train is the reform of the construction permit process of the Town and Country Planning Division of the Ministry of

Planning and Development. This reform will create an online registration system as well as improve the management of work-flows, document management and archives in accordance with international best practice. This transformation fits within the continuous advancement of new measures to improve competitiveness and the overall ease of doing business. Trinidad and Tobago is open for investment and increased trading activities at an important juncture in its economic development, which presents immense opportunities for companies expanding or seeking new markets.

Business Trinidad & Tobago • 13

14 • Business Trinidad & Tobago

Unlocking the T&T Advantage

Carnival Moko Jumbies. Photo: Maria Nunes


Unlocking the T&T Advantage There has possibly never been a better time in Trinidad and Tobago’s history for investors to find a fantastic deal, a warm welcome, and a supportive business climate.

16 • Business Trinidad & Tobago


iming the market is a loser’s game, and if you’re a Foolish investor, then you’ve got to focus on finding value in the markets should an event cause a sell-off. These are buying opportunities, and you should capitalise on them if they present themselves. - The Motley Fool Huge, rich, underlying assets; recent massive investments to modernise public infrastructure and upgrade private sector capacity; fantastic properties for sale; a strategic location to access South America, Central America and the Caribbean; interrupted current revenue stream; a local private sector motivated to form new partnerships and find new markets; a government under pressure to find new sources of revenue; an economy in dire need of new, diverse inflows of foreign exchange. There has possibly never been a better time in Trinidad and Tobago’s history for investors to find a fantastic deal, a warm welcome, and a supportive business climate. The timing is particularly favourable because the slowdown in economic growth and drop in fiscal revenues come on the heels of a long period of growth and development concomitant with peaceful but feisty democratic elections that saw a new political regime with each new elections. What has that meant for the country? It means that, when energy revenues were flowing, the government in power was motivated to spend, and billions of dollars in capital expenditure went into public infrastructure - from highways and interchanges to port development and hotel infrastructure. Huge expenditures were made on business parks, sporting

Kay BaldeosinghArjune - Editor

infrastructure, cultural infrastructure, health care, and the education system. Millions of dollars were spent, as well, to modernise and strengthen state-owned business support agencies and services with respect to the Customs and Excise Division, the Port Authority, Licensing Office, the Bureau of Standards, the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute, the official export development agency and the export-import bank. Further expenditures were made to modernise and improve a range of legislation and regulations relating to the financial sector, government procurement, ICT transactions and industry incentives. With demand from the government straining the capacity of the private sector, private businesses also invested in upgrades and expansion. Changes in government meant that this reinvestment took place across the board while new businesses also formed and invested in equipment to capitalise on the lucrative government contracts available. To support and profit from this economic activity, developers invested in new office buildings, private housing developments and new shopping and entertainment centres. Today, this modern infrastructure is in place; the business regulatory and approvals systems have improved; the trades programmes and universities have created a widely-skilled, welleducated labour pool of tradesmen and professionals, and continue to add to that pool every year; and the private sector has modern equipment and idle capacity. Even the financial sector has billions of dollars available to lend to qualifying projects. Government-Business Relationships Over the last few decades, successive governments have demonstrated their


willingness to ensure that public policies have private sector input through stakeholder consultations and industry representation on Cabinet-appointed Standing Committees. More recently, government has shown keen interest in public-private sector partnerships to execute public infrastructure and projects. Fairness and Transparency In addition to its robust, UK-based legal system in which the Privy Council is the final Court of Appeal and its modern financial and company legislation, Trinidad and Tobago has been making strides in creating a fair and transparent business environment. The Trinidad and Tobago Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (TTEITI) launched its first annual report in 2013 while the new 2015 Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act is expected to be operationalised in 2017. According to the Finance Minister: “By the end of March 2017…all public bodies, which…includes the Office of the President, the Parliament, the Judiciary, Ministries and Departments, the Tobago House of Assembly, Municipal Corporations, State Enterprises and Statutory Authorities, among others, will be required to carry out public procurement and the disposal of public property in a manner that is consistent with the Public Procurement Act.” Business and Investment Opportunities The 2016 US Country Commercial Guide for T&T identifies the best prospects for US businesses in T&T as:- Creative Industries, Distribution, ICT, Light Manufacturing, Medical Equipment, Pharmaceuticals and Tourism. In this edition of BT&T, we have brought together the country’s premier business associations and experts to highlight the tangible and intangible assets that create a T&T advantage for investors and businesses that come to

Photo: Christopher Anderson

Trinidad and Tobago. The American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago, the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the T&T Manufacturers’ Association all highlight the advantages and opportunities the current business environment offers investors. The T&T Contractors Association reveals the untapped potential of an under-utilised construction industry. Key Ministers and State agencies set out government’s priorities and policies over the next two years and identify significant investment opportunities. Ernst & Young looks at investment opportunities coming out of government’s divestment agenda while the Bankers Association highlights the sector’s strength and readiness to support business. With the Energy sector continuing to be critical to T&T’s future outlook, we have devoted several pages to hearing from the Minister of Energy, the Energy Chamber

and the private sector on plans, projects and the future of the energy sector in T&T. In addition, a confident local agribusiness reveals some of the investment opportunities that are fueling its expansion plans in the Caribbean, while the Stateowned CreativeTT highlights its own plans to inspire the local film, fashion and music industry. T&T’s spectacular, stress-busting Carnival with its dazzling designs, body moving music, multitude of events, and unique characters such as the Moko Jumbie, Dame Lorraine and Blue Devils - are another aspect of this multidimensional, infinitely creative society with a vast, untapped potential for business and investment opportunities. So many strategic elements are in place right now. Trinidad and Tobago, today, represents huge value. What it needs are the right investors to unlock this value and capitalise on the T&T Advantage.

Business Trinidad & Tobago • 17

18 • Business Trinidad & Tobago

Photo: Stephen Jay Photography


Doing Business in Latin America Investors, exporters and businesses who are interested in the Caribbean and Latin American markets can use Trinidad as a strategic transit hub for these regions as well as a nearshore hub for North America.


he past decade has brought about many changes in our local and international environment. Political allegiances and economic alliances are shifting, creating a new paradigm for governments, investors and businesses. For Trinidad and Tobago, the American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad & Tobago (AMCHAM) continues to monitor the changes that happen worldwide, because globalisation has opened the doors of trade, but it has also made us vulnerable to changes, particularly in global energy markets. Monitoring these changes is critical to effectively supporting the local economy. The island of Trinidad and Tobago has been aptly described by many as the business hub of the Caribbean, with a mix of government and State-regulated companies, along with a vibrant private sector. Diverse Economy – Diverse Opportunities Trinidad and Tobago has a diverse economy, with the most developed sector being the oil and gas sector. Following the first discovery of oil in 1866, T&T has used the earnings from this sector to assist in the development of other areas such as agriculture and tourism, and to finance much-needed infrastructure and human capital development in the country. Apart from the slow recovery of oil and gas prices since record lows in 2015, there is also a change in the trade dynamic of oil and gas. As of January 2017, the United States, a former main importer, is now a net exporter of oil and gas to Latin America. Coupled with this is the

reintroduction of major suppliers to the global oil market such as Iran in 2016. This uncertainty has made it imperative that there be a greater thrust for increased investment and diversification of the non-oil and gas sectors of the economy. In his 2016/2017 Budget presentation, the Minister of Finance stated that the nonenergy sector was expected to bring in $44.87 billion in revenue for the national economy. The non-oil sectors that present major potential for investors include Manufacturing, Information Technology, Financial Services, and the Creative Sector. Trinidad and Tobago has been a strong leader in manufacturing in the Caribbean. This historical leadership has been the result of a combination of several areas of competitive advantage for local firms and investors which include:Affordable Electricity The affordable cost, availability and reliability of electricity and natural gas offers a major advantage as the cost of electricity in the Caribbean has been persistently high for many years. Trinidad and Tobago actually has one of the lowest electricity rates in the Western Hemisphere. Shipping Logistics Developed trade and logistics links with two separate ports capable of handling international, containerised cargo are located in Port of Spain and Point Lisas. Apart from these two container ports, Trinidad and Tobago has seven other ports and five harbours located throughout the two islands. Investors, exporters and businesses who are interested in the Caribbean and Latin American markets can use this country as a strategic transit hub for these regions as well as a nearshore hub for North America.

Business Trinidad & Tobago • 19


Doing Business in Latin America Free Zone Programmes The Free Zone programmes offer significant tax incentives such as import duties exemption, exemption from work permit fees, value added tax exemptions, and a number of others. Trade Agreements T&T can boast accessibility to numerous regional and international markets through trade agreements, both at the CARICOM level and as an individual country. We are major export partners with countries in the Western Hemisphere such as the United States, Chile, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Guyana, Costa Rica, Cuba and Venezuela. Moreover, Trinidad and Tobago has also signed a partial scope trade agreement with Panama and there are currently two trade agreements at various stages of negotiations between Trinidad and Tobago and Guatemala and El Salvador. Bilateral Investment Treaties also exist with the United Kingdom, Canada, Switzerland, USA, France, Cuba, India, Germany, China, Spain, Mexico, and Korea. These agreements allow for financial transfers to be made freely into and out of each country, and eases requirements relating to entry and employment. Diverse People Trinidad and Tobago has a diverse population as it relates to race and religion with a tolerance of the right to worship and express one’s faith without fear. In a society that seeks to invite investors from all over the world, this tolerance is important for harmony among all people and overall stability. An attractive environment for foreign investment calls for a highly-skilled, dedicated and productive workforce. According to the Labour Force statistics published by the Central Statistical Office, of a total workforce of approximately 649,100 persons in Trinidad and Tobago, there are approximately 628,600 persons employed. Trinidad & Tobago has an advanced

20 • Business Trinidad & Tobago

Photo: Christopher Anderson

human resource base with a high percentage of university graduates, including those with postgraduate qualifications. These individuals possess a wide range of skills including that of engineering, agriculture, health, legal, administrative, information technology and general management. Location, Location, Location Trinidad & Tobago is the twin island nation that is the most southerly island in the West Indies and is 11.2 km off the coast of Venezuela. Its proximity to South America, the United States, Canada and Latin America makes Trinidad and Tobago

a convenient transit point for travellers as well. This is one of the reasons why AMCHAM T&T remains committed to advocating for Trinidad and Tobago to be a site of pre-clearance for the United States. There are over a dozen embassies and consulates in Trinidad & Tobago from North, South and Central America. This may be seen as a testament of our diplomatic relations with key countries in this hemisphere, and assists in facilitating access to countries to do business.

22 • Business Trinidad & Tobago

Photo: Christopher Anderson


Non-energy Investment Opportunities The Banking, Maritime, ICT and Tourism sectors are ripe with opportunities particularly for first movers.


he twin-island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) offers the best of two worlds to eligible investors interested in the region: a stable, fast-paced and businesssavvy society, juxtaposed with a calm, serene and inviting tourist getaway. Deciding where to invest one’s money is a major decision. Safety, stability, return on investment and the type of costs involved are all pertinent factors. It is even more critical when millions of dollars are earmarked to be invested by a multinational corporation (MNC) or government entity into an overseas territory. It is within this context that the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce believes that any investor would be well-advised to seriously consider T&T as an investment location, particularly in the areas of Banking, Maritime and Shipping, and Tourism. Banking With a well-organised, developed and regulated financial system, T&T can undoubtedly boast that it wields significant impact as a financial hub in the English-speaking Caribbean. Out of 138 countries worldwide, our small twin-island state placed 61st for its financial market development, according to the 2016/2017 Global Competitiveness Index. Operating locally, we have eight commercial banks (of which the majority are internationally owned), 16 non-banking financial institutions and four financial holding companies. Most notably, Republic Bank Ltd, the oldest bank in existence in T&T, has been operating for 180 years. Not only is it the oldest surviving bank, but it is the second longest established bank in the

Caribbean after Republic Bank (Guyana) Ltd - which speaks volumes about longevity and stability within the financial system. Port of Spain is also home to the Trinidad and Tobago International Financial Centre (TTIFC), an onshore financial centre charged with creating an enabling financial environment to attract investments into T&T. The TTIFC’s key areas of focus are Business Environment, Financial Sector Development, Infrastructure, Human Capital, and Reputational and General Factors. Part of its mandate is to open up opportunities for financial transactions, exports and investment opportunities to Latin America, North America, Europe and Asia. Maritime and Shipping Not unlike the Panama Canal, T&T’s ports serve as a gateway to the Americas. Trinidad and Tobago lies just 11 km off the coast of South America and resides furthest south in the archipelagic chain. Its strategic positioning between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela, prequalifies it as a critical transshipment and logistical hub for the Caribbean and Latin America. Furthermore, T&T lies outside the Atlantic hurricane belt, making it a safe shipping and maritime point. The country has truly benefited from both its size as well as its positioning, recording the highest export figures of all CARICOM member states, both intra-regionally (71.9% ), as well as extra-regionally (70.4%). A fully-developed industrial port is positioned in Port of Spain (Port of Port of Spain) and in Point Lisas (Port Point Lisas), handling dry and general cargo, industrial bulk and containers. Cumulatively, both ports have enjoyed some 128 years

Business Trinidad & Tobago • 23


Non-energy Investment Opportunities

The isles of T&T are two unique belles of the region investors should consider seriously in their strategic planning.

of operational years in T&T - 78 years for Port of Spain and 50 for Pt. Lisas. Though similar, both hubs are different in composition and services offered. The Port of Port of Spain commingles with three additional units: the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago Governing Unit (PATTGU), Port of Spain Infrastructure Company (POSINCO) - the landlord unit, and the Trinidad and Tobago Inter-Island Transportation Company (TTIT) - the inter-island ferry service. Together, they make up the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago. Port Pt. Lisas consists of two essential services: industrial real estate management (103 companies spanning a range of activities) and port management and operations (6 commercial berths that operate on a 24/7 basis). Information Communications Technology (ICT) Trinidad and Tobago is becoming a far more digital and knowledge-based society where software and online services are a key feature of daily life and living. In a thrust towards diversification of the economy, the Government has identified the ICT sector as one with vast, untapped potential. In 2015, this sector contributed TT$5.59 Bn (US$0.88 Bn) or 3.4 per cent to the country’s overall income or GDP. The ICT industry is characterised by high mobile and Internet penetration rates - 157.3% and 68.9% respectively in 2015 – and a strong infrastructural base. To reach a wider market base, the banking industry has incorporated both internet and mobile banking facilities. T&T also offers one of the highest bandwidths available and carries one of the lowest per unit costs for electricity within the Caribbean region. We have the second lowest rate in the Americas behind Venezuela. We also have a deep pool of well-trained and competent persons with

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strong ICT training within the work force. As of 2016, the country’s largest telecommunications provider, Telecommunication Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT), had received full certification as a Data Centre Service Provider. TSTT earned the distinction of having the only Rated 3 TIA-942 Certified Data Centre in Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean and Latin America. Because of this, the company was positioned among the top data centres worldwide, making it the ideal go-to for offshore data storage and management. T&T has used ICT and online platforms to transform the way in which companies do business. InvesTT has established an investment portal which is designed to aid investors in setting up their businesses in T&T. Moreover, T&T has made great strides with respect to trade facilitation, with the launching of the TTBizLink online platform. By standardising these procedures and making them more efficient, this platform has significantly reduced the time required to complete Certificates of Origin, company registrations, import/export permits and licences, work permits, and much more. Tourism The tourism sector has tremendous potential as a driver of economic diversification, given T&T’s significant comparative advantage as a tourist destination. Additionally, the GORTT has established attractive incentive packages for MNCs within T&T, creating a welcoming environment for investment. With numerous conference halls and locations to host meetings, business tourism is becoming a booming sub sector. On an annual basis, conferences that cover a wide range of topics such as Facilities Management and Maintenance, Energy Conferences, and Trade and Investment are all held in T&T. Business tourism


Calypso Rose, Winner of the Victoires de la Musique Award for Album of the Year, performing in Trindad, Carnival 2017. Photo: John Bryden

attracted some 20 percent of arrivals in 2015. Much has been ventilated in the public domain about plans to facilitate the construction of the Sandals Resort in Tobago. Currently, the ANR Robinson International Airport is being upgraded and over the next fiscal year (2017/2018), construction is expected to begin on a new airport terminal at Crown Point, Tobago. These projects will improve the movement to and from Tobago, for both domestic and international travellers. Eco-tourism has managed to flourish and outdoor leisure activities abound for couples and families, from biking or hiking through picturesque trails, to scuba diving, parasailing and much more. With a plethora of locally and internationally themed restaurants and bars at everyone’s disposal, the twin-isle is fast garnering a reputation for being a ‘foodie’ paradise.

Many visitors also come to experience T&T’s annual creative and cultural festivals such as Carnival, the Tobago Heritage Festival and even the Tobago Jazz Experience, which includes locals in the lineup of artistes. Local culture and entertainment come together at spaces such as the longstanding Queen’s Hall, National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA), and in street performances and pan yards offering a delightful mix of theatre, dance and music performances year-round. In Tobago, the Luise Kimme Sculpture Museum showcases the very essence of Tobago people through their customs, dances, beliefs, art and folklore. Conclusion In an economic climate where hydrocarbon revenue has been depressed, the Banking, Maritime, ICT and Tourism sectors are ripe with

opportunities - particularly for first movers. Businesspeople have accepted that it is not ‘business as usual,’ and are making a greater effort to improve efficiencies, in a bid to attract much-needed foreign exchange, currently in short supply in this jurisdiction. The economy is bolstered by a sound financial system and technological infrastructure, which can allow for possible advancements in the spheres of banking, insurance and ICT. Our location makes Trinidad & Tobago ideal as a transshipment hub and as a meeting place for conducting business. The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce supports the Government’s thrust for a more diversified economy and looks forward to greater sustainability. The isles of T&T are two unique belles of the region that investors should consider seriously in their strategic planning.

Business Trinidad & Tobago • 25

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Photo: Marlon Rouse


From T&T to the World Christian George Research Officer Trinidad and Tobago Maunufacturers’ Association (TTMA)

In a country with a well-established manufacturing industry represented by an Association that turned 60 in 2016, T&T’s manufacturing sector is replete with examples of long-established, successful partnerships involving foreign and local companies.


roducing and exporting a wide range of world-class products, Trinidad and Tobago is certainly not the stereotypical small, tropical island. Small island developing states are usually associated with products in the food and beverage sector. By contrast, Trinidad and Tobago not only has a globally recognised energy sector, it is the home of numerous companies manufacturing a wide range of items. In addition to food and beverages, companies in this twin-island Republic manufacture tobacco products, paper and paper products, chemicals and chemical products, pharmaceuticals, other nonmetallic mineral products, electrical equipment and furniture. (See Table for details of the industrial activities within these sectors). In a country with a well-established manufacturing industry represented by an Association that turned 60 in 2016, T&T’s manufacturing sector is replete with examples of long-established, successful partnerships involving foreign and local companies. While different options are available for such partnerships, some local manufacturers have utilised contract manufacturing arrangements that allow them to export their products. The advantages that justify a partnership with a local company include the production of world-class products, the ease of doing business, the country’s strategic location, and the various trade agreements in force. World-Class Products Competition in the globalised trading environment forces manufacturers to produce quality products at affordable

prices. As a result, citizens of Trinidad and Tobago can boast that locallyproduced goods conform to various standards emanating from the developed world. Attaining these certifications and accolades is no easy feat, but these companies (which are small when compared with their larger counterparts) have demonstrated the world-class nature of their operations. Some of these certifications are identified below: • ANSI Standards (various): The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) serves as administrator and coordinator of the United States private sector voluntary standardisation system. ANSI’s primary goal is the enhancement of the quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems and promoting their integrity. • FSSC 22000 (Food Safety): Food Safety System Certification 22000 (FSSC 22000) is an ISO-based certification scheme for auditing and certification of food safety systems of organisations all along the food supply chain. The FSSC 22000 certification scheme is fully recognised and accepted by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and by the European Co-operation for Accreditation (EA). • Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP): HACCP is a management system that addresses food safety through the analysis and control of biological, chemical and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product. • ISO Standards (various): The International Organization for Standardization develops international

Business Trinidad & Tobago • 27


From T&T to the World standards that ensure that products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality. For business, they are strategic tools that reduce costs by minimising waste and errors and increasing productivity. • ISO 9001 (Quality Management Systems): ISO 9001 is a standard that sets out the requirements for a quality management system. This certification is based on seven quality management principles, namely customer focus, leadership, engagement of people, process approach, improvement, evidencebased decision-making, and relationship management. • SQF: The Safety Quality Food Institute’s SQF programme is recognised by retailers and food service providers around the world who require a rigorous, credible, food safety management system. Ease of Doing Business Potential investors are keenly interested in the protection of their investment and the ease of doing business across borders. Based on the 2017 Ease of Doing Business Report, Trinidad and Tobago has fared well in the “Trading across Borders” and “Protecting Minority Investors” indicators. In these categories, the country outperformed its neighbours in the Latin America and Caribbean region, and was very close to the average of OECD members. These rankings enabled the country to be ranked 12th in the Latin America and Caribbean region and 4th in the Caribbean region. International Trade Agreements Furthermore, Trinidad and Tobago enjoys preferential access into several markets. As a member of CARICOM, exports from Trinidad and Tobago attract 0% import duty into most of the Caribbean markets. Moreover, there are trade agreements with numerous Latin American countries, namely Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Panama and Venezuela. Trade agreements with El Salvador and Guatemala may be

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ratified shortly, and the possibility exists for an agreement with Chile. Further afield, Canada, the European Union and USA have removed import duty on several items. Thus, goods produced within Trinidad and Tobago can enter approximately 32 countries without attracting import duty, which increases the price competitiveness of T&T goods. Many products from Trinidad and Tobago have already entered these markets, which demonstrates that the products meet the (often) stringent requirements that are imposed by the developed world on imports. Many of these products also occupy a significant market share in the CARICOM region, which further demonstrates that the products fare well in markets other than Trinidad and Tobago’s domestic market. Conclusion The 18th edition of the TTMA’s Trade and Investment Convention (TIC) is aptly themed “From T&T to the World.”

Each year, TIC showcases the top quality products that are produced in Trinidad and Tobago, as well as the potential for partnerships that can increase exports and foreign exchange earnings. This vast potential has been proving itself for centuries, beginning with Christopher Columbus undertaking a grand adventure that led him to discover Trinidad and Tobago in 1498, which opened up opportunities to Europe that proved highly beneficial and created mutually beneficial ties that have endured more than 500 years. Countless opportunities await the next intrepid and discerning adventurers from Europe and elsewhere. One can only imagine the rewards that would result if these explorers were to discover and partner with our local manufacturing sector to commercialise these opportunities - creating a rich new world to explore!

Table 1: Types of Goods Manufactured in Trinidad and Tobago Using International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC), Rev. 4

Division Class Food products Processing and preserving of meat, fish, fruit and vegetables; manufacture of vegetable and animal oils and fats; dairy products; grain mill products; bakery products; cocoa, chocolate and sugar confectionery; macaroni, noodles, couscous and similar farinaceous products; prepared meals and dishes; other food products; prepared animal feeds Beverages Manufacture of wines; malt liquors; soft drinks; production of mineral waters and other bottled waters Tobacco products Manufacture of tobacco products Textiles Manufacture of made-up textile articles, except apparel Leather and related Manufacture of footwear products Paper and paper Manufacture of pulp, paper and paperboard; corrugated paper and paperboard and of products containers of paper and paperboard; other articles of paper and paperboard Chemicals and Manufacture of fertilisers and nitrogen compounds; pesticides and other agrochemical chemical products products; paints, varnishes and similar coatings; soap and detergents; perfumes and toilet preparations Pharmaceuticals Manufacture of pharmaceuticals Plastics products Manufacture of plastics products Other non-metallic Manufacture of glass products; refractory products; clay building materials; other mineral products porcelain and ceramic products; cement; articles of concrete, cement and plaster Basic metals Casting of iron and steel Fabricated metal Manufacture of structural metal products products Electrical Manufacture of electricity control apparatus; batteries and accumulators; wires and equipment cables; electric lighting equipment Furniture Manufacture of furniture Other Manufacture of jewellery and related articles; musical instruments; dental supplies



From T&T To The World


he wheels are already in motion for the Trade and Investment Convention 2017, the flagship event of the TTMA. The launch of TIC 2017 took place in September 2016 at the House of Angostura. This event was the catalyst for revealing the theme of TIC 2017, “From T&T to the World.” This year’s theme explains the drive of the manufacturing sector to expand their operations locally to assist in diversifying the economy, to contribute further to the GDP and to showcase T&T Manufacturing to the world. TIC 2017 promises to be a facilitator of this process by providing an ideal space and forum for local manufacturers, distributors, exporters and service providers to conduct immediate business to business linkages with regional and international buyers. This was also the sentiment echoed by the feature speaker, Senator the Honourable Paula GopeeScoon, Minister of Trade and Industry. Her message solidified the importance of continuously supporting ventures such as TIC which contribute to the pursuit of the diversification of the economy of Trinidad and Tobago by promoting and supporting the local manufacturing sector. TTMA’s President Dr. Rolph Balgobin and CEO, Mr. Ramesh Ramdeen, who hosted and chaired the event respectively, welcomed and encouraged all attendees to participate in the biggest business to business show in the region.

This year’s convention takes place July 6th-9th at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya. It is anticipated that TIC 2017 will host over 300 local and international companies and will attract over 7,000 local and international buyers, with continued focus on bridging the gap between Trinidad and Tobago, Latin American and Asian markets. The TIC has proven itself to be a stalwart event in the business community and has shown its ability to expand and develop each year with continued sponsorship from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, First Citizens, TSTT, Guardian Group and Balroop’s Sound System Limited. TIC 2017 - in its 18th year - will continue to be a structured, business networking event, for two days, with opportunities to not only exhibit and to attend as a buyer, but also to utilise and participate in our current and relevant business education programme and our match-making business to business service. The last two days of the convention will allow for Business to Consumer transactions and marketing to the general public. This year will also showcase two special sections for the two largest-represented sectors, the Construction and Food & Beverage Sectors. TIC is the ideal forum to introduce and promote your company’s products and services and to meet and establish secured business linkages and investments.

Business Trinidad & Tobago • 29

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Photo: Marlon Rouse


T&T Government Re-evaluates Energy Sector While most upstream companies actively exploit their acreages, there are companies that either have not fulfilled their contractual obligations or have not been optimising the development of resources within their acreage. The Ministry will be closely reviewing these arrangements.


nce again, as occurred in the 1970s and 1980s, we face the challenge of restructuring our fiscal regime to produce a win-win situation for all concerned, so that oil and gas companies are motivated to explore and increase production, and the Government can optimise its revenue from petroleum.

either have not fulfilled their contractual obligations or have not been optimising the development of resources within their acreage. The Ministry will be closely reviewing these arrangements. In 2016, BHP Billiton drilled two deepwater wells. The first well, the Le Clerc-1, was drilled to a depth of 22,876 feet in a water depth of 6,007 feet. The well targeted three reservoirs of

Hydrocarbon Production In 2017, gas production is projected for the first part of the year to be approximately 3.3 billion cubic feet per day. Thankfully, this is expected to improve with the full implementation of the Trinidad Regional Onshore Compression Project (TROC) and the Juniper Project, which will be coming onstream in April 2017 and August Minister of Energy (Ag) Colm Imbert addressing the audience at the Energy 2017 respectively. Beyond Conference. Photo courtesy: The Energy Chamber of Trinidad & Tobago 2018, there are a number of projects which are due to come on stream which two of these targets encountered such as Angelin, Savannah, South East hydrocarbons. Queen Beach and Offshore Compression, In 2017, seven exploration wells as which will provide stability to domestic gas compared to four wells in 2016 are production. These will be supplemented by scheduled to be drilled. These include gas procured from Venezuelan fields, such one well by bpTT in its acreage in the as the Dragon field, by 2019. Columbus Basin, which is scheduled for However, the key to stability and the 2nd quarter of 2017. In support of its security of domestic gas supply is exploration activities, bpTT has scheduled sustained and aggressive exploration and the conduct of seismic surveys in its developmental work programmes. While geophysical programmes for 2017. It has most upstream companies actively exploit commenced seismic acquisition in an area their acreages, there are companies that covering 981 square kilometres, utilising

Business Trinidad & Tobago • 31


T&T Government Re-evaluates Energy Sector

“T&T has many, many advantages in our energy sector. We are an attractive investment destination and we have many of the fundamentals right. The Government decision-making must happen to attract the investment dollars that we need. Once this happens, there is a bright future for the country.” - CEO of the Energy Chamber of Trinidad & Tobago, Dr. Dax Driver.

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Ocean Bottom Node technology. If all goes according to plan, BHP Billiton will be continuing its deepwater exploration programme with two more wells in its Deepwater Blocks, which are scheduled for the 3rd quarter and 4th quarter (2017) respectively. In respect of upstream development, the number of wells projected for 2017 has declined from 69 development wells in 2016 to 56 development wells in 2017, with 33 of the wells being under Petrotrin’s Lease out/Farm out/Incremental Production Service Contracts (IPSC) programme. Petrotrin is therefore the key to improved oil production in Trinidad and Tobago in the short and medium-term. It is our best chance to reverse the current decline and the Government will therefore be examining and implementing a wide range of strategies in 2017, including joint ventures, to boost and enhance Petrotrin’s oil production, both on land and in the marine area. As part of the overall strategy to increase hydrocarbon production, the Ministry - in 2017 - will make available for exploration, acreage on land and in marine areas, including our deepwater province. Such areas may include acreage that has been relinquished or that has reverted to the State by virtue of the expiration of contractual deadlines. The Ministry is currently assessing prospects and, in short order, will be requesting nominations from Upstream Companies as part of the process in the selection of blocks for the Bid Round. The initiatives to stimulate the domestic energy sector will also include the review of the fiscal regime for hydrocarbon production, taking into consideration the review undertaken by the International Monetary Fund and stakeholder feedback. On the issue of pricing within the industry, the Ministry of Finance will re-

establish the Permanent Petroleum Pricing Committee in 2017 to address issues such as the fair market value of petroleum and petrochemical products and arm’s length transactions. National Energy Policy During the period August 10th to 25th, 2016, the Ministry engaged its stakeholders in the energy sector in a series of consultations to solicit their views and recommendations for a National Energy Policy for Trinidad and Tobago. Twentyfive companies representing the various stakeholder groups attended the meetings. The recommendations spanned the entire energy sector, including the services and downstream retail marketing sectors. Local Content Policy …a reconstituted Permanent Local Content Committee has developed a work plan which, with industry co-operation, will seek to address the issues contributing to the low level of local content and participation in the domestic energy sector. International Initiatives Trinidad and Tobago will continue to expand its energy sector globally. In May 2016, we signed a Co-operation Agreement between the Government of Ghana and the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. In addition to this Government-toGovernment Agreement, a Memorandum of Understanding on joint identification and development of commercially viable natural gas projects was also signed by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago (NGC). We also identified areas for regional energy collaboration under the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative at the CARICOM– United States Trade and Investment Council (TIC) meeting in May 2016.


Photo: Paul Low Chew Tung

Through the NGC, we are participating in the infrastructural development, processing and marketing of significant, proven natural gas provinces which are located outside the jurisdiction of Trinidad and Tobago. In this regard, the major across the border prospect is the Dragon Field. Furthermore, Guyana and Cuba are two new regional markets in which this Country has already begun energy discussions for future collaboration. Conclusion The global energy market has become much more competitive through the advent of shale gas in the USA and emerging oil and gas economies in developing countries. In this scenario, companies must harness new technology… to improve efficiency and output. Other measures include the sharing of services

and equipment, in particular, the sharing of rigs and seismic vessels. Outside of our hydrocarbon potential, a major inducement to energy companies to Trinidad and Tobago has been the quality of our energy services industry. Therefore, as the industry becomes more technology oriented, it is incumbent on the upstream producers to facilitate the transfer of technology to local service companies so that they continue to be equipped to effectively service the sector. The Poten and Partners Natural Gas Master Plan 2014 to 2024 has suggested a way forward for the development of our gas industry. A Sub-Committee of the Standing Committee on Energy has reviewed the plan and has submitted its recommendations. It is clear to the present Government that there are

several pressing issues that have been left hanging for too long, such as the reform of the supplementary petroleum tax, the equitable utilisation and distribution of our natural gas among downstream companies, and agreement with the upstream producers on new, long-term, gas supply contracts going forward. We, in this Government, do not intend to procrastinate and I wish to give you the assurance that we will move swiftly in 2017 to take the necessary policy decisions that will ensure our country’s long-term energy future. (Condensed from the Feature Address delivered by Ag Energy Minister Colm Imbert at the Energy Chamber’s Trinidad & Tobago Energy Conference 2017).

Business Trinidad & Tobago • 33


BP Expects Significant Growth From T&T Operations

Raphael John-Lall


nternational energy giant BP has great expectations for T&T’s energy sector over the next three years. Delivering the keynote address at the Energy Conference, BP’s Bernard Looney – Chief Executive, Upstream - told the conference delegates: “…we have relationships here that we are depending on to deliver around one in every five new barrels of growth in our Upstream business over the next three years.” He stressed: “One in five barrels. That is around 20% of our global growth coming from Trinidad and Tobago.” To achieve this growth, bpTT Regional President Norman Christie told the conference that the company had plans to spend US$1.7 billion in 2017 once the conditions were right. The US$2 billion Juniper project, which will deliver first gas in the third quarter of this year, demonstrates this commitment to investing through cycles, he said. In this regard, Looney noted: “We are bucking a trend – maintaining investment at a time when it’s been falling across our industry. But this is what you can achieve when you have strong relationships – when you have trust and when you have an environment that supports investment.” Relatedly, he said: “We have another project that we believe can make an important contribution to the continuity of energy supplies here. It’s called Angelin. I had hoped today that we could be announcing the sanction of Angelin – setting a course for first gas in 2019. We are not quite there yet but making good, steady progress. I’m hopeful that we can conclude negotiations as quickly as possible to establish a platform of stability that will allow us to move forward. One that works for all sides of the partnership.” He also asserted: “Trinidad has a vital role to play in the world’s transition to a lower carbon future, one in which gas – as the cleanest fossil fuel – plays an increasing part.” Chairman of the Energy Chamber Vincent Pereira identified the key challenge for Trinidad & Tobago’s energy sector as being how to stimulate investment into upstream oil and gas production. He said there were “four key areas that, with some improvement, we in the Energy Chamber of Trinidad & Tobago (ECTT) believe can significantly improve our competitiveness going forward.” These areas are: the Fiscal Framework, Gas

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Photo: Paul Low Chew Tung


“Trinidad has a vital role to play in the world’s transition to a lower carbon future, one in which gas – as the cleanest fossil fuel – plays an increasing part.” Policy and Pricing, Efficiency and Institutional Effectiveness. The Chamber President, who is also President of BHP Billiton, emphasised: “The energy industry in Trinidad & Tobago is not a sunset industry. Far from it. There are many exciting opportunities that lie ahead with enormous possibility – but we will have to earn them. The sustainable solution lies not in prediction but in preparation. If we do the hard yards now, in a sensible and focused manner, we will come out of this current, challenging period stronger than we went in. We must all work collaboratively to make that possible.” In this regard, he pointed to exciting developments in the oil industry in Guyana which, he said, opened up opportunities for Trinidad and Tobago which is a CARICOM partner of Guyana. He added that now was the right time for Trinidad and Tobago to be having a dialogue with its partners.

“Greater levels of collaboration, including around things like rig sharing and mobilisation and demobilisation of support vessels, could help reduce costs in both jurisdictions, to the benefit of the people of both countries and the companies involved,” he said. Local Content Charter A significant event at the conference was the signing of a local content charter by the CEOs of the major oil, gas and petrochemical companies in the country. The Charter commits them to working towards increased local content in their operations. According to the Energy Chamber, the idea of the Local Content Charter is to create a voluntary, industry-led process for companies to work together in this effort. It also commits them to working with other stakeholders such as the Energy Chamber and educational/training organisations.

NGC Priority In 2017 Aggressive Pursuit Of Gas


iven the prevailing economic climate and ongoing concerns about natural gas availability, the National Gas Company is working on several initiatives to ensure a reliable and adequate gas supply for the country’s industrial users. Chairman Gerry Brooks told Business Trinidad & Tobago that NGC’s top priority in 2017 is securing its business and product by aggressively pursuing strategies to bring more gas into the system. According to information provided by NGC, in the short-term this includes alignment of downstream consumption with planned upstream shutdowns; advancement of the bpowned Trinidad Onshore Compression (TROC) project, which received final approvals in mid-2016; and discussion with upstream suppliers on root causes of unplanned outages. Over the medium-term, NGC has asked Shell to deliver more gas from existing fields through its production enhancement opportunities programme, while NGC itself will identify opportunities to partner with the Ministry of Energy to develop small and marginal gas fields. In this regard, NGC is working on a partnership agreement with DeNovo Energy Ltd which will see NGC owning a 20% stake in Blocks 1a and 1b and, by extension, owning 20% of any natural gas produced from these

fields. First gas is expected in the first quarter of 2018. First gas is also expected in early 2017 from the bpTT-EOG Sercan Field project, which has a capacity of 250 mmscfd; while bpTT’s Juniper Field project, which has a production capacity of some 590 mmscfd, will deliver first gas by the third quarter of 2017. In December 2016, Trinidad and Venezuela signed a deal to develop the Dragon field situated in northeastern Venezuela. This will be a significant source of gas over the longer term. In addition, 2.69 tcf of gas is possible from the Loran-Manatee field which straddles the maritime border between Trinidad and Venezuela. Noting that the NGC Group was recalibrating its business model by enhancing the jurisdictional competitiveness of Trinidad and Tobago as a leader in gas-based development, Brooks said: “As part of our strategic thrust to 2020, we are moving rapidly to internationalise our business footprint which will enhance earnings and reduce volatility. This is a major pillar of our new strategic plan.”

Business Trinidad & Tobago • 35



Range Resources Trinidad Limited


K-based Range Resources Ltd entered Trinidad in 2011, through the acquisition of three producing onshore licences - Morne Diablo, South Quarry and Beach Marcelle - and incorporation of Range Resources Trinidad Ltd (formerly Trincan Oil Limited). Trinidad is home to Range’s core asset and the Company continues to focus on growing its Trinidad business. Companies like Range, which are well-positioned to take advantage of this opportune environment for acquirers, should see a number of attractive opportunities in the sector. In line with the growth strategy of the Company, Range continues to evaluate potential acquisitions of high quality assets at attractive valuations. There is no doubt that a critical review of the energy tax incentives is needed in the current environment. Fiscal clarity and a supportive tax reform can increase onshore investment in Trinidad. Range is hopeful that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago will continue to enact more incentive policies, including improved approval timelines, in order to attract further investment and foster an oil winning attitude. Despite the continued challenges facing the energy sector, 2016 saw unprecedented activity for the Company, and the progress made so far by Range’s team has been extremely encouraging. The Company has completed a review of its work

36 • Business Trinidad & Tobago

programme and identified implementation of its Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) waterflooding projects as the highest priority. Waterflood is a more cost efficient and environmentallyfriendly way to grow production and expediting this is key for Range’s operations. Range is focusing on its current waterflood projects as well as evaluating further waterflood opportunities in order to enhance oil production. Range’s strategy in Trinidad is targeted toward growth in profitability through increasing production and reserves, whilst maintaining stringent cost control. Trinidad is one of the world’s first crude oil producers. The country is an established oil and gas economy and has well-developed infrastructure, a skilled technical workforce, transparent regulatory process and a stable fiscal regime. Trinidad also has a strong services sector comprising both local and international companies. In addition, one of the greatest benefits is the country’s steady political environment and sustained socioeconomic order. Karlene Ali Deputy General Manager, Range Trinidad operations/assets/trinidad/


Stork Technical Services Trinidad and Tobago Limited


t Stork, we continue to do our part to maintain a positive safety culture. For us, safety is not a priority but a core value. Fatalities are no longer viewed just as statistics; they represent real people, with lives and families. The energy industry is changing rapidly and, as a company, we recognise that HSE has a strong impact on our bottom line. We are now seeing stronger enforcement in health and safety by regulatory bodies, leading to more accountability, less workplace injuries and more open dialogue. In Trinidad, our employees have worked over seven million man-hours with no LTIs. This can be attributed to a shift from a workforce that was not fully aware of safety, to one that is now knowledgeable and engaged. The commitment by management to workplace safety has helped workers to take it more seriously and translates into a safer working environment. Our positive and proactive safety culture is the result of combined individual and group efforts based on the shared values of Visibility, Authenticity, Leadership, Understanding and Engagement. All levels of management and personnel are held accountable on a daily basis. Our focus is on improving our hazard reporting and

better enforcement through initiatives such as our Competency Assurance Management System. We are committed to being recognised as a world leader in HSSEQ and have invested heavily in safety programmes. Our global Reach Beyond Zero programme is geared towards empowering employees at all levels and creating a sense of personal responsibility for safety. Additionally, we have analysed the activities which hurt us the most and developed our LifeSaving Rules to help prevent injuries in the future. These rules are applicable to all employees and (sub)contractors at all locations, throughout the company. All these factors, together with greater risk assessment, risk management and more qualified HSEQ professionals, have allowed us to transform our HSSEQ culture and performance. As a multinational, we believe that all these steps are necessary in order to keep our employees safe and continually meet international demands and standards. – AMCHAM’s 2016 Winner- Most Improved HSE Performance for Services to the Energy Sector: Large.

Business Trinidad & Tobago • 37


Finding Opportunity in Times of Turbulence There is an abundance of opportunities and worthwhile profits awaiting the right investors in Trinidad and Tobago.


ven in crisis or recession there is an abundance of opportunity. After successfully enjoying over 14 years (except for 2008) of continuous growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the then Central Bank Governor of Trinidad and Tobago announced in December 2015 that the country was officially in recession. A recession merely means that there has been two consecutive quarters of decline in a country’s GDP; by this time, however, it was the fourth decline. How long a recession lasts depends on the ability of the country to recover. We all know that the global recovery has been volatile and slow. The resumption of growth in our economy is highly dependent on the Oil and Gas industry; an industry over which we have very little control or influence. Therefore, to stimulate the economy, strategies must be employed to achieve economic stability and be ready for future sustainable growth. In Trinidad and Tobago, the well-beaten word Diversification will usually make an appearance at this time, but we will be examining the opportunity that another D word brings - Divestment. Strategic Divestment - The Rationale How can Divestment stimulate the economy? Firstly, divestment is an action where there is an equal and opposite reaction - for one to divest, another entity has to acquire. The mere fact that an entity is willing to acquire means there is a visionary seeing opportunity. This perspective is sometimes not understood in our business community. The concept of divestment appears to signal failure in the minds of the players in the local economy when it should be

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Maria Daniel Partner, Transaction Advisory Services Ernst & Young Services Limited

regarded, instead, as part of the natural progression that takes place in developed markets. Strategic divestment can improve a company’s performance just as much as the right growth strategy. Holding on to an inefficient, unprofitable investment results in the dilution of the returns from those assets that are performing as they should. So where can you find some of these opportunities in Trinidad and Tobago at this time? Due to the limited supply of investment opportunities, local investors have adopted a buy and hold portfolio strategy, not only for stocks but also business ownership. But opportunities do exist. Our analysis will begin with State Assets. The Government is currently faced with the dilemma of a significant fall in its revenue whilst the State wage bill continues to grow and social programmes have increased. The ability to stabilise the economy in this environment is no easy task for any Administration. Government has to find alternative funding strategies that will not hamper the long-term growth of the economy. In his September 2016 Budget Speech, the Honourable Minister of Finance signalled his intention to redeploy assets. I use the term redeployment because the asset ownership is transferred from the representative of the people to the people. If we consider the First Citizens Bank and TTNGL initial public offerings (IPOs) in 2015, and the expected Additional Public Offerings in 2017, Government’s divestment of ownership is merely moving the profit earning from itself to the people of Trinidad and Tobago. This effectively increases the disposable income of those that invest in the opportunity. What does this do to the economy? Whilst the impact will not be immediately felt, the public is wealthier if the stocks


Couva Children’s Hospital. Photo: Christopher Anderson

continue to perform and the dividend yields are higher than 1% (which is more than you can get from the bank). This, theoretically, means there can be more spending, which effectively contributes to economic growth. Additionally, by increasing the shareholding base of the stocks, trade activity should increase and hopefully stimulate capital gains (once the underlying companies continue to perform). This, again, increases the wealth of the citizenry. So the redeployment hits two sides of the economic equation: Government has cash to start its capital programme, which in turn can jolt the construction industry; and individuals have additional cash to boost their savings and/ or enhance their disposable income. This, hopefully, will translate into consumer spending.

Given the limitations on foreign exchange being experienced in Trinidad and Tobago, we hope this will also generate a boost to the local manufacturing sector, which again offers opportunity for the second ‘D’ word Diversification. The State Portfolio The State’s portfolio comprises 47 wholly-owned state enterprises, seven majority-owned and five minority positions for a total of 59 companies. According to the State Enterprises Investment Programme 2016, these state enterprises are categorised into Energy, Financial Services, Agro-processing, Telecommunications and Manufacturing. Together, they contributed over $33 billion in foreign exchange (from the energy sector) and over $6 billion in profit

after tax in 2014. However, in 2015 this plummeted to approximately $1 billion in foreign exchange and $1.3 billion in profit after tax, with the energy sector making significant losses. This is a significant loss in foreign exchange that cannot be easily replaced, if at all, from any other sector, public or private. How does one maintain buoyancy in an environment such as this? How does one finance the social welfare and wage bill when revenues have decreased this drastically? Divestment of State Enterprises Continued divestment of State-run enterprises, either wholly or partially, to local and international players with the relevant technical and managerial knowledge, is a viable solution. A state enterprise is not fluid like the private

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Finding Opportunity in Times of Turbulence sector where layoffs are easier to effect. This further restricts a state enterprise’s ability to react to adverse revenue declines. Divestment is a solution that brings with it many opportunities for the right investors. These investors can improve the enterprises’ efficiency and productivity, which would result in a more profitable share to the government and a rewarding financial investment for the private sector. Whilst this was not clearly identified in the Budget Speech, it is certainly one solution for the State-run energy companies. Government has identified a number of companies for which it is seeking joint ventures or divestment. These include: • Industrial estates under the remit of Evolving Tecknologies Enterprise Development Company Ltd (eTecK). This will be an opportunity for any real estate development company or possibly a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) structure. • Trinidad Generation Unlimited – this definitely offers returns to a financial investor. It is well-known for its already efficient operations. • Strategic partners for Lake Asphalt, National Helicopters and others that have not attained their true potential. Most of these state enterprises can be restructured under the right ownership. They can be profitable and contribute through Value Added Tax (VAT) and corporation taxes without being a burden on the public purse. Public Private Partnership Opportunities Divestment of minority equity holdings through Additional Public Offerings is a start, but larger divestment of state enterprises or Public Private Partnerships are essential to fund the government’s deficit, which has been increasing. A major new tax incentive opens up exciting PPP possibilities in the agricultural sector. The Honourable Minister of Finance noted in his Budget presentation that the Government hoped to stimulate

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Divestment Possibilities: The State’s portfolio comprises of 47 wholly-owned state enterprises, seven majority-owned and five minority positions for a total of 59 companies. the expansion of the agro-processing industry, especially in the coconut and cocoa industries, by introducing a tax free incentive whereby all approved agro-processing operations would be tax free, once at least 75 per cent of the ingredients and the processing of the agricultural products originated locally. Given the global demand for our cocoa, this industry will not only earn foreign exchange, but the tax free incentives provide a stronger business case for investment. Government will further facilitate the growth of the sector through a more efficient registry and approval process that would encourage the private sector to bring the capital to fund new projects. Significant PPP opportunities also lie in finishing and operationalising the Couva Children’s Hospital, and the financing and construction of government housing programmes and schools. Using the PPP model would enable government to get its capital and infrastructure programmes completed but partly financed and operated by the private sector. Corporate Opportunities A recessionary period also brings with it private opportunities. In difficult economic times, there is financial fallout for companies that are highly leveraged or cannot withstand the revenue declines. This results in the companies going into receivership. Receiverships provide assets only or operating companies without the liabilities, which offers a value purchase.

Given our work in the Restructuring and Receivership sector, we have seen the opportunities for local entrepreneurs to benefit from the value opportunities sometimes presented through a restructuring or receivership programme. For example, Roof Systems Ltd recently purchased the assets of GGI Ltd (in receivership) to increase its market share in the roofing and window manufacturing sector. Many successful companies have begun from receivership opportunities. In fact, the World Entrepreneur of the Year Winner 2015, Mohed Altrad, started his business with a nearly bankrupt company that now earns approximately US$1 billion in sales. It is all about finding the right opportunity and making it profitable. In tough economic times, companies are more willing to form strategic alliances and joint venture arrangements to assist with cost sharing and capital investments. When the recovery takes place, the restructured companies are stronger and more cost efficient. This gives rise to greater profitability and higher returns on investment for the investor who took the risk at a difficult time. In every doom and gloom situation there is a light of opportunity. It is up to investors to have the vision and determination to make it profitable. There is an abundance of opportunities and worthwhile profits awaiting the right investors in Trinidad and Tobago.


Ernst & Young Services Limited


lobal EY is committed to doing its part in building a better working world. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We are 210,000 people based in 728 offices in 150 countries and we develop outstanding leaders who team up to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities. Our values define who we are. They influence the way we work with each other, our clients and regulators, and our communities, where we use professional skills to create positive change close to home and around the world. EY Caribbean EY has a strong presence in the Caribbean with offices in Aruba, Barbados, Curaçao, Jamaica, St. Lucia (covering the OECS territories) and Trinidad and Tobago. We are excited to announce the opening of our newest office in Guyana, which would enable us to serve clients taking advantage of business opportunities created by that country’s recently discovered hydrocarbon reserves. Our 600 people in the Caribbean pursue the highest levels of integrity, quality and professionalism to provide clients

with a broad array of audit, advisory, tax and transaction services. We operate under a single global strategy, leverage a single communications platform and adhere to a single code of practice. To sustain and grow your business across the Caribbean and beyond, you need a business advisor who understands the changes taking place within our region and the nuances of each territory — one who has a global view of the issues within your industry and takes the time to approach those issues from your perspective. EY Caribbean is the largest fully integrated professional services firm in the region. We have aligned ourselves to be responsive to clients as a single point of contact, regardless of location. We operate and serve our clients seamlessly across the Caribbean. Our multidisciplinary teams of professionals leverage a wealth of industry-tailored practical approaches through global perspectives and regional insights to deliver results that are relevant to you and your needs. We invite you to explore all we have to offer. Our EYC firms are committed to our people, clients and profession, and we look forward to showing you how you can grow and succeed in today’s competitive marketplace with us.

Business Trinidad & Tobago • 41


Brownfield Gold There are many greenfield spaces available for development throughout the country, including pristine land along Trinidad’s North coast, sites on islands off Trinidad’s north-west peninsula, and attractive estates in Tobago.

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he islands of Trinidad and Tobago are the embodiment of duality with serene Tobago boasting some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and neighbouring Trinidad offering booming industry and nightlife. This duality ensures that all who visit will gain more than expected out of their twin island experience. So, indeed, when InvesTT Trinidad and Tobago (InvesTT) was established to attract investment in the country’s non oil and gas sectors, the promotion of opportunities in the Tourism sector was a priority. There are many greenfield spaces available for development throughout the country, including pristine land in Las Cuevas on Trinidad’s North Coast along with sites on the Chacachacare and Monos islands off the northwestern tip of Trinidad. Hopping over to Tobago, there are attractive estates being offered in Speyside, Englishman’s Bay, and Bacolet. Blue Haven Hotel With regard to brownfield developments, Tobago’s oldest and most famous hotel, the Blue Haven Hotel, is open for acquisition. This award-winning property, recently named Tobago’s leading hotel by World Travel Awards 2016, is situated on 7.5 acres of prime oceanfront land and offers 55 units in total. This includes 10 suites and two ocean front villas, all with private balconies and breathtaking ocean views. Hotel amenities include a restaurant “Shutters on the Bay,” a Terrace Bar, Beach Bar, conference room, fitness area, swimming pool and tennis court. Another key advantage that this property offers is the potential to almost double room capacity, given recently obtained planning permissions for an additional 49 rooms. Smaller hotel investment and villa opportunities also exist in the Crown Point, Lowlands, Buccoo and Grafton areas.

The Villas at Stonehaven Several villas at The Villas at Stonehaven have been placed on the market. This property is an easy pick because of its convenient location, breathtaking views, and the cachet of having been designed by Swedish architect Arne Hasselqvist, famous for the homes he designed and built in Mustique for celebrities such as Britain’s Princess Margaret, musician Mick Jagger and designer Tommy Hilfiger. Grande Rivière In Trinidad, properties in Grande Rivière and Las Lomas are available for sale. One such property is the Acajou Resort, an ecofriendly, boutique resort that sits on 2.7 acres at the mouth of the Grande Rivière River and Beach. The resort comprises six individual bungalows built using ecological and environmentally-friendly materials.


No Man’s Land, Tobago. Photo: Jason Sookermany

Each elevated cabin features high ceilings, jalousie windows and an ensuite bathroom with a stone basin. The Eco-resort has its own restaurant and bar with an on-site chef. The attractiveness of its natural surroundings, coupled with an exceptional river and sea combo experience, brings an estimated 15,000 tourists a year to Grande Rivière. However, the coast’s most famous visitors are the exquisite leatherback turtles, with Grande Rivière renowned globally as a high density nesting site for these giant but vulnerable sea turtles. The Acajou Resort is being promoted by Alcazar Realtors along with the scenic 26-room Las Lomas hotel, another eastern hotel investment opportunity located just 20 minutes from Piarco International Airport.

National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) Hotel Further west in Trinidad’s capital city, the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago has sent out a Request for Proposal soliciting interest in the branding, management and operation of the NAPA Hotel, which is within walking distance of the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain. This boutique hotel, set within the environment of a world-class performing arts compound, caters to visiting professors and artistes as well as business and leisure travellers. The hotel has 53 rooms comprising 20 double occupancy, 30 single and three suites. The facilities include two restaurants that can be also used for meetings and other events, an atrium, a well-equipped kitchen area, a lobby and reception area, a multipurpose

lounge and a business centre. With the much-anticipated prospect of a Sandals Resort in Tobago, tourism is poised for explosive growth on the islands. To facilitate this, the Government has put in place a number of incentives that include tax exemptions, accelerated depreciation of assets, duty-free imports of building materials, as well as reduced duties and motor vehicle tax exemptions for tourism transport service vehicles. As the national Investment Promotion Agency, InvesTT stands ready to nurture interest from local, regional and international investors. For further information on any of the opportunities listed please visit our website: or contact .

Business Trinidad & Tobago • 43

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Photo: Stephen Broadbridge


Banking on Our Assets

Unsurprisingly, Trinidad and Tobago’s banks continue to receive high credit ratings from major ratings agencies, reflecting the robustness of the banking system even amidst a period of economic downturn.


rising from its success in oil and gas exploration and export, Trinidad and Tobago emerged as the leading energy producer in the region. However, for some time now, the country has earned a reputation as a centre of excellence in financial services to the extent that Trinidad and Tobago is now considered the financial hub of the Caribbean. The country’s prominence as the region’s leading finance centre has been driven, in no small part, by a strategic decision and the general consensus across the political spectrum to diversify the economy beyond its traditional pillar of hydrocarbons, and establish alternative sources of sustainable growth. Consequently, the local financial services sector now plays a pivotal role in driving economic growth, after being identified in 2010 by the Government as one of the seven strategic business clusters for economic development in the country. Key Players Described as robust by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its 2016 Article IV consultation report, and ranked an impressive 37th out of 138 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness 2016-2017 Report, Trinidad and Tobago’s financial services sector comprises a range of banking and non-banking financial intermediaries including commercial banks, insurance companies, mortgage banks, finance companies and credit unions. The country has developed one of the largest commercial banking bases in the Region consisting of eight commercial banks: the Bank of Baroda, Citibank, FirstCaribbean International Bank, First Citizens Bank,

JMMB, Republic Bank, RBC Royal Bank and Scotiabank. These banks provide a broad and integrated suite of financial services including TTD and USD savings and investment instruments, foreign exchange dealings, money market instruments, trade financing, project financing and underwriting of shares and bonds. Significantly, the sector can boast of a large regional footprint arising from the presence of subsidiaries in the Caribbean (and beyond) including the More Developed Countries (MDCs), Eastern Caribbean and the Dutch Caribbean. This targeted pan-Caribbean strategy is not only characteristic of the expansion of the business volume of the local banking sector, but is a tangible endorsement of the spirit of integration as enshrined in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). This provides a sound springboard for firms seeking to expand their regional operations. Facilitating Growth Over the years, the banking industry has progressed beyond its role as facilitator of growth to become a growth sector in its own right. According to the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, at the end of 2016, the eight commercial banks held TTD138bn in assets which represented 3% y/y growth. Financial services now account for an estimated 13% of Gross Domestic Product (the second largest contributor to GDP after the energy sector). Indeed, the sector grew by 3.7% in 2016, outpacing the 2.3% overall real GDP contraction in 2015. Sectorally, commercial banks remain highly profitable with a low level of nonperforming loans, estimated at 3.3% in August 2016, while the ratio of regulatory capital to risk-weighted assets stood at 22.4% from Q3 2016, well above the regulatory requirement of 8%.

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Banking on Our Assets

These metrics attest to the robustness of the banking system even amidst a period of economic downturn. Unsurprisingly, Trinidad and Tobago’s banks continue to receive high credit ratings from major ratings agencies. Regional Leader The commercial banking sector’s status as a regional leader is underpinned by Trinidad and Tobago’s reputation for stability, sound policy making and a robust regulatory framework. The conduct of banking business is regulated by the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago under the Financial Institutions Act (2008). The Bank supervises the sector and administers the various statutes pertaining to banking, securities and the financial sector in general. To maintain high and consistent standards in financial supervision, the Central Bank is proactive in bringing regulatory and supervisory practices in line with international best standards, such as guidelines developed by the Basel Committee on Banking Regulations and Supervisory Practices. Of relevance, in this regard, is the recently passed Tax Information Exchange Act, which ensures the country’s compliance with the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Indeed, this latest enactment emphasises the country’s efforts to keep abreast with regulatory best practice and augurs well for the continued facilitation of international business activity. Ongoing compliance with relevant international legislation, and the continual implementation of bestin-class systems, will hold the country in good stead as an attractive international finance centre. Business Processing Outsourcing The World Economic Forum has classified Trinidad and Tobago as an innovation-driven economy, ranking it in the 2016-2017 Global Competitiveness Index at a favourable 56 out of 138 countries in respect of the availability of

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latest technology. This, combined with sound ICT infrastructure, a pro-business environment, a literacy rate of 99%, comparatively low operation costs and its geographic advantage vis-à-vis proximity to both Latin America and North America, positions Trinidad and Tobago as a competitive Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) location in the English-speaking Caribbean. In this regard, the development and operationalisation of the Trinidad and Tobago International Financial Centre (TTIFC) continues to promote the country as a major financial hub in the Caribbean, as well as an ideal location for BPO firms. The TTIFC was established in 2011 to profile the country as a destination for middle and back-office operations for financial institutions, as well as third party BPO providers. In addition to promoting investment in financial services, the TTIFC provides a myriad of services to BPOs, including assistance in site selection, business case justification, tax incentives and investment benefits. Commendably, Trinidad and Tobago, for the first time, made the list of the Global Services Location Index (2016), ranking 42 out of 55 countries (1 being the best performer). This index analyses and ranks the top 55 countries for outsourcing, worldwide, based on three indicators: financial attractiveness, people skills and availability, and business environment. Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica (which ranked 43rd) were the only two CARICOM countries featured in the listing. Multinationals have shown strong interest in setting up BPOs in the country. To date, TTIFC’s efforts have led several companies to enter into Memoranda of Understanding; it is noteworthy that two banks have successfully activated BPO operations in the country. Of particular merit is the availability of a pool of highly-skilled, well-qualified professionals in the business, statistics, mathematics and economics disciplines, as well as ACCA-certified professionals, which

is crucial for firms seeking to establish a BPO facility in areas such as Finance and Accounting, Insurance, Human Resources and Data Analytics. Regional Financiers The lack of a well-developed capital market has increased the role and function of the commercial banks, which serve as a catalyst in boosting higher inflows of private investment, both foreign and domestic, through their network of customers and contacts with entrepreneurs. In this regard, local commercial banks play a critical role in financing large projects throughout the region - and not just in countries where they have a physical presence. Where they do not, it is normal for these banks to join with other financial institutions to fund projects. As local banks seek new and innovative forms of financing for small and medium sized enterprises, it is conceivable that commercial banks and development financial institutions will be the main mobilisers of regional savings, and financiers of regional investment activities, for private sector firms as well as individual consumers. Resilient, Responsive, Progressive Trinidad and Tobago’s banking sector has proven its robustness and flexibility both in times of consistent growth and economic contraction. Hence, even as the country recovers from recession, banks in Trinidad and Tobago are well-positioned to keep abreast of technological advances and adhere to (and often exceed) regulatory and reporting requirements, while remaining competitive and adapting to the needs of their customers. Indeed, the banking sector’s role as an agent of progress and economic empowerment will continue to be an inextricable component of Trinidad and Tobago’s programme for sustainable, longterm growth and development.

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Fantastic Opportunities Await Construction Sector Photo: Marlon Rouse


Fantastic Opportunities Await Construction Sector


&T’s experienced contractors have a surplus of idle construction assets that could be harnessed, organised and exported to the Caribbean, Latin America and internationally. Oftentimes, businesses require the spur of necessity to go after new markets and new opportunities. Feeling the pain of the current economic climate, the time is right for the construction industry to seize the opportunity to leverage its formidable physical and human resources and embrace the construction opportunities that await. Hard Times - New Horizons The Trinidad and Tobago economy follows the fortunes of the energy industry with the price of oil and natural gas having the main influence. The present worldwide reduction in demand for energy products, and the accompanying severe reduction in price, has led to basic stagnation of the national economy. As a result, the construction sector, which for a period of about 15 years saw steady growth, has been severely affected by this stagnation since 2014. The recent stability of these commodity prices and current revenues are not sufficient to utilise the vast resources currently under the control of the construction industry. This is compounded by the pending delivery of equipment ordered by some contractors prior to the severe decline of energy prices. The question now is, where do we find productive work for the highly skilled workforce and the massive equipment pool now lying idle? The answers lie either in the use of the excess liquidity held by the private sector accumulated

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over the last decade or so, or expand regionally within CARICOM. For the former solution to be meaningfully implemented, amendments to the Financial Institutions Act would be needed. Great Investment Opportunities in T&T For Foreign Capital In our immediate circumstances there are investment opportunities for foreign capital in the provision of Civil Infrastructure, Housing, Health Care Facilities, Coastal Environmental Protection Facilities, and Agricultural and Industrial Infrastructure. The Housing Development Corporation (HDC) estimates that there is dearth of over 3,500 units annually. Given that the Government is not in a position to fund these expenditures currently, private capital and local contractors/ entrepreneurs working together, can develop and execute business models which allow for these units to be constructed within the cost parameters. Immediate sale can allow for the Financiers and Contractor to continue with the injection of capital to support additional projects. The Government has a significant role, through the HDC and the Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance Company, to ensure that payments to investors are released on a timely basis. The same would apply to other areas of Government’s capital expenditure, such as the Toco to Tobago Port, the Sangre Grande to Manzanilla Highway, the Princes Town to Mayaro Highway, Schools and Health Care facilities. We are in the midst of completing an expansion of the La Brea Industrial Estate port facility. Additionally, we recently upgraded the facilities at both the Port of Spain and Point Lisas ports but the Port of Port of Spain is aged and there are plans to reconstruct this port at another site.

by Rodney Cowan, Director Trinidad and Tobago Contractors Association

Fantastic Opportunities in Guyana If we chose to look beyond our borders to locate opportunities, one of the best examples of a country waiting to explode is our Southern neighbour Guyana. This country, with a population of approximately 750,000 and a land mass of 215,000 sq km, is waiting to be developed. The discovery of major potential finds of oil in the Orinoco belt in January 2017, and Guyana being an English-speaking country with many family connections existing between our countries, the opportunities are reminiscent of Trinidad & Tobago many decades ago when we had a fledgling oil industry. Today, the difference is that we have a great deal of experience in developing an energy economy. Foreign investors and local contractors can benefit from this potential high economic opportunity through the reconstruction of Guyana’s infrastructure, most of which is outdated both in terms of structures and production equipment. Trinidad & Tobago has built a globally recognised reputation in the construction and operation of energy and other types of industrial plants and equipment. For Guyana to fully benefit from its natural resources, its port infrastructure both international and domestic - needs to be developed in the short-term. Guyana’s transportation network via major waterways plays a critical role in the movement of goods and people throughout Guyana. However, many of its port facilities need to be upgraded to handle the heavier loads associated with the operations of an energy industry. In terms of the road network, significant development is required to handle the major increase in movement of heavy industrial equipment inland. Trinidad and Tobago possesses sufficient available resources in terms of skilled personnel


There are investment opportunities for foreign capital in the provision of Civil Infrastructure, Housing, Health Care Facilities, Coastal Environmental Protection Facilities, and Agricultural and Industrial Infrastructure. and equipment required to upgrade these roads. This can and should be done via joint venture arrangements between local Guyanese firms with experience in the road building industry, and our local firms who can offer technologically advanced solutions to what may currently exist in Guyana. Given that the production of oil in Trinidad has been dwindling over the past few decades, consideration should be given to building pipelines to transfer the oil from Guyana to Trinidad for processing. Again, in this respect, Trinidad & Tobago firms have benefitted from major technology transfers over the past 40 years in the construction and deployment of energy pipelines to service its offshore industry. Trinidad & Tobago also possesses the educational/training framework to support the development of personnel for the construction and energy industries through the MIC Institute of Technology and the National Energy Skills Centre. Both of these institutions have built a reputation for the high calibre of training they deliver. Conclusion We, the Trinidad & Tobago Contractors Association, believe we can revitalise the local construction industry, revive employment of our citizens, bring much improvement to our economy, and capitalise on exciting opportunities for joint ventures and investment. The opportunities are there. The conditions are right. And the construction industry is ready! Photo: Christopher Anderson

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Photo: Aujourd’hui Studio


Making Agriculture Sexy Again Bavina Sookdeo

Land is available and if you come with a plan, you can partner with the government. If you come with a local partner, where you are bringing equipment and you’re bringing an export market, there is potential.


gribusiness CEO Joe Pires Jr sees tremendous opportunities for foreign investment in T&T’s agricultural sector. “Land is available…and if you come with a plan, you can partner with the government. A lot of Caroni lands are available. If you come with a local partner, where you are bringing equipment and you’re bringing an export market, there is potential.” In an in-depth interview with BT&T in early 2017, the CEO of Caribbean Chemicals & Agencies Ltd outlined some of the exciting opportunities that he thought could make agriculture sexy again. He also highlighted what his company was doing as proof positive of the business potential of the agricultural sector and his confidence as an investor in T&T and in the Caribbean. “We have a lot of flights into Trinidad and Tobago and we can use the excess capacity going out to get our products out…not only to the US but to Europe and into London. We can grow the crops, especially during the winter time when a lot of Europe and North America are under cold temperature conditions. There is a lot of opportunity here and there are many positives in the sector,” he told BT&T. Even the challenges of food security and a huge food import bill represent opportunities for firms like Caribbean Chemicals. The company, which turned 50 in 2016, is the largest input supplier in the English-speaking Caribbean with headquarters in Trinidad, a manufacturing plant and offices in Jamaica, and offices in Guyana and Suriname. From its Jamaica office, Caribbean Chemicals handles the northern Caribbean, including Santo Domingo, Haiti, The Bahamas, Cayman

Islands, US Virgin Islands and Belize; from its Trinidad office it handles all the Englishspeaking islands south of St Kitts. Vision for Agriculture What is Caribbean Chemical’s vision for Agriculture in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean? Pires stated: “As a company, our general vision is that we want to be a player in Latin America and the Caribbean using Trinidad and Jamaica as our two bases – Jamaica from a formulating perspective and Trinidad from a head office perspective. We would love to see Trinidad moving away from import substitution. We’ve been talking about it for many years and I think the time has come to start the process. With the crunch on foreign exchange we can use the opportunity.” Due to the lack of foreign exchange, Pires said that he approached two food importers who were very willing to jump on board, leading to the creation of a new company called CC Produce. A subsidiary of Caribbean Chemicals, CC Produce has started to work with three food importers and is now contracting farmers to grow crops that were traditionally imported. “We are one of the few companies in the Caribbean that can do this” stated Pires, “and we would like to do this throughout the Caribbean. We’ve actually started discussions in Jamaica to begin it and we’ll be introducing it into Guyana and Suriname this year.” Pires is very excited about the plans for 2017. “With our manufacturing plant, we are going to be introducing four or five new products into the market. For us, they are generic products but it allows us to manufacture in the Caribbean and export throughout the Caribbean. We acquired the manufacturing plant about two or three years ago in Jamaica so that allowed us into manufacturing for the first

Business Trinidad & Tobago • 53


Making Agriculture Sexy Again Caribbean Chemicals & Agencies Ltd is investing and expanding in the Caribbean, manufacturing new products and will be entering the DR market for the first time in 2017.

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time. We’ve never been formulating or manufacturing before,” he explained. But even more exciting, the company is entering the Dominican Republic (DR) market this year, Pires said: “This will be the first time an agriculture company from the Caribbean is entering the DR market… usually it is the other way. There are two other companies from the DR that are selling in the Caribbean and I am very excited. I think the opportunity is extreme. The DR market is a US$100 million market so for us to be in there is really exciting. Even if we can get 10, 12 or 15% of that in the next two to three years, we’ll be very excited. With CARICOM trade, we are allowed duty-free access into the Caribbean and other markets we have the agreement with, so it allows us to use our manufacturing capabilities in Jamaica.” Right now, Caribbean Chemicals has two new herbicide products being tested and these are generic products that are ready for sale in the Caribbean but the formula has been improved. The company’s approach was to get 50 or 60 large farmers together under one umbrella. “We know who the good farmers are and we know farmers who have the land available. We are looking for a minimum of five acres to a maximum of 50 to 100 acres. So we are working with those farmers to contract them to grow for the food importers. Unfortunately we can’t deal with the small one-acre farmer for contracts for manufacturing,” he noted. “The foreign exchange crunch has allowed us to open the door to walk in and get local produce done so we are doing sweet corn for a number of supermarkets,” and cantaloupe for PriceSmart, Pires said. The company also has an agreement with HADCO and is producing sweet peppers and tomatoes for local sales in supermarkets and restaurants, replacing a portion of what was traditionally imported. He added: “We are hoping that the government would identify four or five crops a year that are heavily imported and begin a programme to reduce the

importation. We started three years ago with onions. There are at least $50 to $60 million dollars worth of onions being imported into Trinidad.” He also identified bananas and potatoes as attractive import substitution, processing and manufacturing opportunities. Pires wants to attract more people into the industry by making agriculture and farming sexy again. He actively pursues this by participating in media programmes, doing interviews, introducing new crops and actually being a farmer to show that it can be fun and can be sexy. T&T’s Agricultural Advantage So what are the benefits of partnering with a TT firm or headquartering a business in T&T? Pires listed them unhesitatingly and honestly: - Our climate - Our location - Availability of inputs throughout the Caribbean.


Arima market. Photo: Christopher Anderson

- “Labour is an issue in Trinidad and certain Caribbean islands but I am certain that with large investments, the Government would allow (and they have indicated in their discussions that they would consider) something similar to what they do in Canada for labour at picking times.” - “Lands are available. With the collapse of the sugar industry in most of the Caribbean a lot of land is available and governments are willing and very interested in moving the lands into agriculture to generate employment.” - Water is also available in most cases. - Flights and shipping, because of our location, are also available. - Technology, whether it be from an input aspect or from a testing aspect, is available in Trinidad. - The knowledge of our people, both from an Agronomy point of view and

a manufacturing point of view, are available. UWI, ECIAF and UTT are producing a significant number of graduates every year who can assist in the development of agriculture in Trinidad and the Caribbean. - Traffic could be horrendous at times but it is okay. - Crime does not traditionally impact the day-to-day operations of a company (while crime is present, the crime that is prevalent does not affect the day to day aspect of our lives). Other pluses, he said, were that: - Trinidad has a stable government, we are well-connected both via air and sea, the tax rates are pretty decent (at 25% we are one of the lowest in the Caribbean). - The Standard of Living is significantly high, availability of electricity and inputs are pretty decent.

- Educated workforce is available. - The nightlife and entertainment are very critical to most Trinidadians so we have it. - The infrastructure within the country is pretty decent. - The Trinidadian people are some of the friendliest in the Caribbean. His final word: As a serial entrepreneur with over 30 companies here in Trinidad, I have always said that there are very few other places in the Caribbean where I could live and work. “ I enjoy being in Trinidad. I am a Caribbean man through and through. I see Trinidad as part of a big picture and I am hoping that we would eventually reach that stage where the CARICOM Trade Agreement is truly a representation of who we are.”

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Tamana InTech Park – Prime Real Estate for Wealth Creation


eading out of the capital of Port of Spain and driving towards the far eastern side of the island presents an appealing transformation of Trinidad and Tobago’s picturesque landscape – from densely populated industrial zones to breezy clusters of indigenous flora and fauna. Situated within this lush green environment lie the seeds of an engine for economic wealth – the Tamana InTech Park (TIP) – one of the largest Science and Technology parks in Latin America and the Caribbean. Adorned with the beauty of a Moriche Palm nature reserve in the middle of the park, TIP demonstrates the perfect interplay between the natural and man-made worlds. This 1,100-acre park is located away from city congestion yet is conveniently only 15 minutes from the Piarco International Airport, and approximately 45 km from Port of Spain. The park offers 20 land lots and just over 29,000 sq. ft. of leasable office space within its Flagship Office Complex. InvesTT Trinidad and Tobago (InvesTT) is inviting applications for tenancy at TIP to local, regional and international companies seeking to expand or relocate their operations within the following industries: BPO, Animation, Software Development Trinidad and Tobago offers a strong proposition for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) as it boasts of one of the largest pools of English-speaking talent in the Western Hemisphere, outside of the USA. This advantage has already attracted iQor, a notable US firm and one of the world’s largest product support services companies. iQor established a contact centre at TIP in 2015 with 60 agents in training and grew to 550 agents by the end of 2016. Torrie, a young woman who has been working at the company for one year, says her quality of life has been significantly improved since she joined iQor. “I feel safe at Tamana and the direct bus transport to get there makes life easier. I enjoy my job and I’m looking forward to seeing other businesses set up at the Park.” TIP’s Flagship Complex is ideally suited for other smaller businesses or individuals such as animators and software developers requiring office space. Trinidad & Tobago offers a nearshore alternative for North American and European animation production studios, and is cost effective against other locations for the production of animated features. TIP’s modern facilities are designed to become the headquarters for clusters of outsourced services serving a local, regional and international client base. Information Communications Technology (ICT) Data Centres The country features five undersea fibre connections, thus providing a robust and redundant core infrastructure for ICT

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companies. TIP provides connection to a 144-strand, single core, fibre optic, backbone cable which offers high bandwidth, in addition to a solid, underground telecommunications network. Additionally, each floor of its four-storey Flagship Office Complex is equipped with state-of-the-art, customisable, ICT infrastructure and security systems as well as energy-efficient ventilation and air conditioning. The Financial Times 2016 benchmarking study, fDi Benchmark, indicates that Trinidad and Tobago is the lowest cost location for the establishment of data centres. This advantage, plus TIP’s world-class ICT infrastructure, creates the competitive edge for companies offering data storage, co-location, and cloud and enterprise data centre services to the Caribbean, Latin American and international markets. High Value Manufacturing Trinidad and Tobago is one of the most industrialised countries in the Caribbean and a dominant player in the CARICOM regional trading bloc. While its economy is primarily energy-based, with large exports of oil, gas and downstream energy products providing the bulk of the country’s revenue, there is a deeply entrenched manufacturing industry. The past decade has seen the emergence of high value manufacturing industries which are typically measured by their financial performance, use of advanced technologies and social impact of business operations. TIP provides an ample environment for manufacturers utilising advanced technologies. In addition to benefitting from low energy costs, tenants at Tamana InTech Park will enjoy the convenience and security of a fully independent power substation that provides power to the Flagship Office Complex and all land lots. Additionally, the soon to be opened campus of the University of Trinidad and Tobago, located in the Park, offers the potential for the creation of linkages to support research and development for new products and processes. Setting up at Tamana InTech Park It’s simple to set up your business at TIP! Interested parties may call InvesTT at +1 868 225-5819 or send an email to: info About InvesTT Trinidad and Tobago InvesTT is Trinidad and Tobago’s investment promotion agency. We target investment into ICT, Creative Industries, Fishing and Fish Processing, Maritime Services, Software Design and Applications, and Aviation Services. Whether you are an entity seeking growth and expansion in the region or a local company seeking to take your business to the next level, InvesTT’s team has the knowledge, resources and key connections necessary for your investment to succeed.


Photo: Modern infrastructure at TIP’s Flagship Office Complex.

Business Trinidad & Tobago • 57

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Photo: Edison Boodoosingh


T&T’s Exceptional Creative Advantage Roslyn Carrington

FashionTT’s flagship initiative will be the launch of a production facility to help designers meet demands for garments of premium quality. MusicTT will launch its fiveyear strategic plan to develop the local music industry. FilmTT will build on recent successes in T&T’s emerging film industry and aim for bigger budget films.


he Trinidad and Tobago Creative Industries Company Ltd (CreativeTT) is a state enterprise under the Ministry of Trade and Industry with the mandate to facilitate and stimulate the business development and export activities of the country’s creative sector. The company focuses on three main areas - Music, Film, and Fashion - through the following subsidiary companies. MusicTT When Calypso Rose won the Best World Music Album award in February 2017 at the prestigious Victoires de la Musique awards ceremony in France, it underscored CreativeTT’s firm belief that local music - especially calypso, soca and chutney shows great potential for sustainability and wealth generation. General Manager of MusicTT, Jeanelle Frontin, is enthusiastic about the sector’s future, mainly because it is founded upon and fed by this country’s unlimited supply of creative genius. Local artistes such as “The Mighty Sparrow” and Machel Montano continue to fill venues and receive acclaim worldwide, while newer arrivals like Cromatics and 5 Miles to Midnight are reaching international audiences through showcases arranged with MusicTT’s support. Frontin is looking forward to the implementation of MusicTT’s new fiveyear strategic plan, expected to be finalised by international consultant Sound Diplomacy in April 2017. Primary and support activities and systems along the music industry’s value chain are at varying stages of development. The plan will propose ways to develop the value chain and ensure global penetration, not just for indigenous genres but for all local

music. In seeking to meet the needs of the industry, the plan incorporates feedback from a wide range of stakeholders, including artistes, producers and sound engineers. Despite the slowdown in growth of the local and global economy, Frontin is confident of the industry’s potential, saying: “The music industry is recessionproof because escapism increases in downtimes.” Recognising that T&T’s music industry requires greater resources and capital to support independents, MusicTT plans to create a varied investment portfolio of 20 upcoming artistes each year, who will participate in a development programme and receive support to bring out their best performance. Returns will accrue through album sales, as well as publishing income derived from sources such as advertisements and soundtracks, as Bunji Garlin enjoyed when his “Differentology” was featured on Grey’s Anatomy. The incentive to investors is that risk and returns are spread across all artistes within the portfolio. FilmTT FilmTT seeks to make T&T’s film and audiovisual sector more viable. It is also responsible for the T&T Film Commission, which facilitates external teams coming into the country to shoot. In that capacity, FilmTT assists with visas, permits, the importation of equipment and finding local service providers. Annually, the Film Commission facilitates 30 – 40 visits by foreign teams. Nneka Luke, General Manager of FilmTT, says the sector has been vibrant recently, with four feature films, including Play the Devil and The Cutlass, launched in 2016. Particularly noteworthy, she said, was the success of Machel Montano’s internationally screened film Bazodee which, she said, has played on more

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T&T’s Exceptional Creative Advantage screens in more countries than any other local film before. “It’s a testament that T&T films can find audiences, not just locally, but internationally,” she told Business Trinidad & Tobago. Luke sees the film industry as similar to the oil and gas sector of the 1960s and 1970s - having great potential for development, but requiring investment. T&T is perfectly positioned, in terms of crew and production resources, to support two or three international and local projects between US$500,000 and US$3 million annually, with a goal of growing that capacity to handle three to four films every year in the US$10 – $15 million category, she said. “We can also recognise the opportunity to market Trinidad and Tobago culture. We have the potential to create film and audiovisual products people want to see,” she stressed. In particular, she said, potential exists for investment in multipurpose production facilities, especially sound stages. FilmTT is also seeking to expand T&T’s input in the provision of global animation services. This will require financing for more advanced animation facilities and post-production suites. For the more adventurous investor, Luke points to opportunities with respect to distributing local content to the global market and securing financing for productions. “Even if it is a small investment, I encourage businesses to take a chance. It’s vital for the industry to become more sustainable,” she said. Fashion TT “The local fashion industry requires the support of the private business sector to build widespread awareness and appreciation of local designer offerings,” Lisa-Marie Daniel, General Manager of the Trinidad and Tobago Fashion Company, told BT&T. “We need the private sector’s backing in selling local goods in retail outlets, and to effectively market and promote Buy Local initiatives. T&T’s fashion industry is lucrative; there’s a

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demand,” she asserted. One of T&T’s most memorable successes was Anya Ayoung-Chee’s Project Runway win, but she is not alone. Local designers such as Meiling and Claudia Pegus have received recognition at the Caribbean Fashion Awards, and Shaun Griffith Perez received the Award of Excellence for Fashion Innovation at the Caribbean Style & Culture Awards & Fashion Showcase in Washington, D.C. FashionTT, which began operations in 2015, is guided by its 5-year strategic plan, available on the FashionTT website, which seeks to address the barriers in the industry, especially those affecting manufacturing, retail distribution and capacity building. The flagship initiative for 2017 is the opening of a production facility to support designers in producing garments of premium quality and to facilitate timely delivery. This milestone project is being executed in partnership with The University of Trinidad and Tobago. Also in 2017, FashionTT will launch the Value Chain Investment Programme (VCIP) - a training and mentoring programme tailored to designers along different developmental stages. At the Global Value Chain tier, advanced designers will work with experts to penetrate international markets. At the Non-Global Value Chain tier, designers will work with experts to analyse the internal operations of their business, address weaknesses, and put together an implementation plan to move to a point where they can fulfil local and international orders competitively. At the Incubator tier, FashionTT will partner with the National Entrepreneurship Development Company Ltd (NEDCO) to provide new designers with coaching in various aspects of running a business, such as the formulation of a business plan, customer service, accounting, marketing and finance.


MusicTT plans to create a varied investment portfolio of 20 upcoming artistes each year, who will participate in a development programme and receive support to bring out their best performance.

Singer Vaughnette Bigford. Photo: Maria Nunes

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Sheldon Waithe

Sports Tourism T&T Warm…Welcoming… World-Class T&T has worldclass facilities that could immediately host a World Championship in the relevant sport, given the high standard to which they have been built.

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rinidad & Tobago is no longer thinking about sports tourism. Following substantial investment, it now stands ready to up the ante and become a major player in this niche market. The much vaunted infrastructure is in place, boasting world-class facilities that could immediately host a World Championship in the relevant sport, given the high standard to which they have been built. The flagship National Velodrome, Aquatic Centre and Tennis Centre - when added to the National Stadium, Jean Pierre Complex, the Queens Park Oval, the Brian Lara Cricket stadia, numerous football stadia such as the Ato Boldon & Larry Gomes Stadiums, Tobago’s Shaw Park Complex and the Dwight Yorke Stadium - provide one of the highest ratios of facilities per capita in the world! T&T is in the enviable position of having the actual structures in place before dwindling energy prices forced energybased economies to explore alternative avenues for revenue. But bricks and mortar alone cannot create the influx of sports tourists required to build this industry. T&T also has the topography, geography, relatively easy access, language, entertainment and yearround climate. Will this be enough? Competitors such as Qatar, South Africa and Australia have been engaged in sports tourism for several

years. How does T&T differentiate itself and then let the world know about it? The country needs to hire the expertise for what is very much a new arena, given the size of the infrastructure and the comparative numbers that it needs to attract, opening up opportunities for marketing, maintenance and management. The responsibility for developing the sports tourism industry falls under the Ministry of Sport as well as the Stateowned Sports Company of Trinidad & Tobago (SporTT). Charged with enthusiasm that echoes his background in successful sports promotion, SporTT Chairman Michael Phillips says: “Sports tourism encompasses world-class facilities in a location that also offers coaching, suitable accommodation and various add-ons to attract a sporting federation or persons to come to your location and


National Aquatic Centre. Photo: Ash Allen Photography

spend money to pursue their sporting ambitions. The ideal is that as a destination you do sports tourism so well, that they return as repeat business to the destination.” He told Business Trinidad & Tobago: “We are now in a position - having liaised with consultants, with experts in all the relevant fields - to understand what we need to offer and we have created a policy that can deliver those needs.” He sees the merits of developing this sector not only in the sports tourism income, but the significant advantages to T&T’s athletes who would also benefit from the rolling out of the sports tourism policy, their access to world-class facilities that are well-managed and maintained, and shared information and competition with visiting athletes. The base of recognition upon which

Trinidad and Tobago can build a sports tourism industry already exists. The world knows our athletes and it would be prudent to use that springboard, especially if the world-beaters become home-grown and home-trained. Jamaica’s sprinting success of the past decade created the desire for athletes to venture to the island to train, and there are no facilities in Jamaica close to those that exist in T&T. Sports tourism also possesses the advantage of being multifaceted. You do not have to be lining up next to Usain Bolt in the quest for gold to benefit from, or partake in, sports tourism. Elite athletes are but one revenue stream from sports tourism, with spectators travelling to international competitions, training camps for amateur enthusiasts and social sport tours all forming the greater part of the potential revenues from this industry.

The ‘new jewels’ in the nation’s sports infrastructure portfolio have already begun to host events, with the Aquatic Centre hosting a Canadian swim team in December 2017 (emphasising the major push for T&T as a winter training venue) as well as an international Water Polo tournament, while the National Velodrome held the Junior Pan American Championships in August 2016. Warm, welcoming and world-class, T&T is well-positioned to gradually build upon all the facets of sports tourism, produce winners and attract some of the 12 million travellers that sports tourism attracts globally. Certainly, the physical factors and mindset are in place. What now remains to ensure its success is that most basic of sport’s tenets: endeavour.

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Where the World Meets


wo islands, two unique experiences, one amazing destination! Trinidad & Tobago is one of the Caribbean’s most exciting destinations and is the ideal location for your next conference, exhibition or meeting. Here are a few reasons why Trinidad and Tobago should be at the top of your list:

One Destination, Two Unique Experiences The beautiful twin isles offer different but equally exciting experiences and are only a 25-minute flight or 2.5-hour ferry ride away from each other. With awardwinning eco-tourism and pristine beaches, tranquil Tobago is the perfect complement to metropolitan Trinidad where the action never stops. Location and Access Strategically located between North and South America, Trinidad and Tobago is well-positioned as a gateway to the Americas and is also fortuitously situated outside of the hurricane belt. In terms of airlift, Trinidad has direct connections to over 26 destinations including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, South America and other Caribbean islands. Exceptional Meeting Facilities Trinidad and Tobago is home to many internationally branded hotels with exceptional meeting spaces. These include the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, Radisson Hotel Trinidad, Courtyard by Marriott, and Holiday Inn Express. Trinidad can boast of having the largest conference facilities in the Southern Caribbean, evidenced by the successful hosting of both the Summit of the Americas and Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2009. There also exists a range of unique meeting venues which are perfect for social events. Why not host your reception overlooking the Caribbean Sea, nestled among lush green mountains, or in an authentic steelpan yard, home to Trinidad & Tobago’s national instrument and the only acoustic instrument invented in the 20th century! Diverse Accommodation Options The islands have a wide array of accommodation options ranging from internationally branded hotels to quaint boutique properties, villas, and bed and breakfast establishments, most of which are in close proximity to the islands’ capital cities and provide quick access to conference venues.

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Only a 25-minute flight apart, Trinidad & Tobago is one of the Caribbean’s most exciting destinations and the ideal location for your next conference, exhibition or meeting! Cultural Attractions and Activities Trinidad and Tobago, perhaps more than any other island in the Caribbean, is known for its rich multicultural heritage, a natural byproduct of the various ethnic groups which settled here, including Africans, British, Chinese, French, Indians, Portuguese, Spanish and Syrians. This is reflected in the island’s diverse cuisine, architecture and festivals which offer delegates a truly multicultural experience. Two very distinct experiences in one destination, Trinidad and Tobago provides a unique opportunity for business travellers. The combination of exceptional meeting facilities and fascinating cultural and eco adventures strikes the perfect balance between business and leisure, culminating in a memorable event. Plan your next conference in the twin island Republic and allow your delegates to immerse themselves in the energy, warmth and hospitality of the Trinidad and Tobago people.


Conferencing and Event Facilities

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Pigeon Point Heritage Park


he acclaimed and award winning Pigeon Point Heritage Park is widely known for it’s clear, calm waters and all the amenities that you could possibly ask for to enjoy a full day at the beach; including excellent food, cocktails and drinks, even shopping! The park, however, has a lot more going on than just a beach excursion. A series of upgrades and projects over the last year has resulted in a facility that really is “More than just a beach …. ” • Accommodation - The Bungalow offers the only overnight accommodation at the park. This cosy unit offers 3 bedrooms, full kitchen, living and dining areas. All rooms are airconditioned. Direct TV, Wi-Fi and BBQ pit included. • Conferences & Seminars – perhaps the most exciting addition to the amenities at Pigeon Point is the hosting of Conferences, Meetings, Corporate Dinners / Functions and other such corporate or social events at the Heritage Pavilion. With approximately 6,000 sq. ft. of function space, users have the added choice of having their meetings open air or airconditioned. The setting and view of the calm Caribbean Sea are unrivalled from this spectacularly designed, beachfront facility. A variety of catering and recreational options are found within the park to ensure your event is a success and easy to

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co-ordinate. For those with smaller requirements, a private Meeting Room caters to such needs with appropriate break-out space. Whether your next trip to Tobago is for business or pleasure, be sure to take time to visit the Pigeon Point Heritage Park!


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Trinidad & Tobago’s ICT Advantage Bevil Wooding Internet Strategist, Packet Clearing House; Chief Knowledge Officer of Congress WBN.

Past and current investments in technology infrastructure and human resource development are already transforming the way the country conducts business and interacts with the world.


evelopment of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector has long been considered key to Trinidad and Tobago’s economic diversification strategy, as well as to its global competitiveness. Faced with depleting energy reserves and, more recently, with depressed global prices for its mainstay extractive industries, successive governments have looked to ICT as a catalyst for innovation, job creation and economic growth - with good reason. Local and global pressures, ranging from unemployment and low productivity to subdued economic growth and geopolitical tensions, are cause for increasing concern. Meanwhile, the digital revolution - with its technology-driven innovations, knowledge-based industry, and sharing economy (where the Internet facilitates individuals renting assets and services directly from each other) - has shown tremendous promise as a driver of new economic and development opportunities. Government and business leaders in Trinidad and Tobago have acknowledged the need to work collaboratively to translate this promise into reality. The investment and policy priorities of the past few years have focused on creating an enabling environment for new, technology-enabled innovations, services and enterprise. The country has been evolving its professional services expertise, developed over decades in the petroleum sector, to turn its highly skilled workforce and extensive telecommunications

infrastructure towards the broader technology-enabled services field. This process is bearing fruit. Trinidad and Tobago has moved up three places from 70 to 67 in the 2016 World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) Global Information Technology Report, with our best showing in technology readiness. The country now boasts of an impressive telecommunications infrastructure and a highly-educated workforce. In February 2016, management consultants AT Kearney ranked T&T for the first time in its Global Services Location Index. The Index, which ranks countries on their financial attractiveness, human talent and overall business environment, is one of the most respected indicators of investment potential in offshore and business process outsourcing destinations. T&T came in 42nd out of 55 countries, the highest in the regional trade group, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). This is affirmation that the country’s strategy to focus on technologyenabled services is on track. The Minister responsible for Planning and Development, Camille Robinson-Regis, in underscoring the Government’s economic transformation thrust, singled this out as the new paradigm for economic development. At the launch of a new Global Services Promotion Programme in January 2017, she stated that the aim is to “facilitate, support and lead the establishment of Trinidad and Tobago’s position as a premier location for the provision of Information Technology (IT) enabled services.” The Inter-American Development Bank is backing the initiative with a US$18 million loan project implemented by the Ministry of Planning and Development. The

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Trinidad & Tobago’s ICT Advantage A new class of entrepreneurs is also emerging, fully intent on harnessing the power of information and communications technology in search of new, home-grown opportunities with global appeal.

programme’s objective is to “strategically position Trinidad and Tobago for a future where our citizens’ skill in Information Technology Services can be exported and eventually become a major contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.” Of course, it takes more than one programme to position the country for the future. Corporate T&T is increasingly incorporating ICTs into their operations. Important steps have also been taken to encourage and incorporate ICTs into new businesses and service delivery through government-driven programmes such as TT BizLink, a secure online platform delivering business and trade-related government services; FairShare, an initiative of the Enterprise Development Division of the Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development to assist micro and small business development; and the National Integrated Business Incubation System (IBIS), a project under the same Ministry to provide mentoring, infrastructural support, operational support, financing, as well as networking opportunities for access to local and foreign markets. Trinidad and Tobago is also positioning itself as a hub for IT and IT-services business. The country’s Tamana InTech Park is the largest science and technology eco-business park in the Caribbean. In January 2017, Government announced completion of civil engineering works on 21 lots (over 74 acres) at the Park, which is located in Wallerfield in north-east Trinidad. Consistent with the top science

and technology parks in the world, Tamana InTech Park will create new synergies between industry and academia, critical to sustaining cutting-edge research and innovation. Tamana has been earmarked for a central role in the country’s diversification thrust and will offer unique investment opportunities in ICT areas such as software development, animation, and high-value manufacturing. One of the Park’s largest tenants, The University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), is scheduled to commence operations in the Park in September 2017. UTT will offer research and development facilities, as well as a pool of industry specialists who can be harnessed to increase global competitiveness. However, there are still some barriers to the adoption of e-business methods to overcome. T&T fell five places to 94 in the WEF’s 2016 Global Competitiveness Index. Jamaica and Barbados placed higher than T&T at positions 75 and 72 respectively. In the WEF’s Networked Readiness Index 2016, T&T ranked 69th out of 139 countries for company-level technological absorption, behind the global curve in terms of hardware renewal and software adoption. The WEF Global Information Technology Report 2016 also noted that Trinidad and Tobago’ usage and impact sub-indices were weaker than in the previous year. There are several factors behind the weak results, ranging from slow adoption of technology in government and businesses, to inadequate legislation and

World Economic Forum’s Networked Readiness Index 2016

Rank Value (out of 139) (1-7)

Networked Readiness Index 2016 (out of 139).................................... 67......................4.1 Networked Readiness Index 2015 (out of 143).................................... 70......................4.0 Networked Readiness Index 2014 (out of 144)..................................... 71......................4.0 Readiness subindex........................................................................................ 35......................5.5 3rd pillar: Infrastructure................................................................................ 37......................5.2 4th pillar: Affordability..................................................................................44......................5.9 5th pillar: Skills.................................................................................................. 43......................5.5

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public policy. For example, The Electronic Transactions Act was passed in April 2011. However, legislation required to make electronic payments possible in T&T has still not been implemented. This is a major obstacle to the deployment of e-payment services and mobile money innovations, the bedrock of any digital economy. But the technology tide is turning in the right direction. Governmental commitment to ICT is meeting a new resolve from business to leverage technology in order to remain competitive in the global economy. A new class of entrepreneurs is also emerging, fully intent on harnessing the power of information and communications technology in search

of new, home-grown opportunities with global appeal. Consumers, not to be left out, are also demanding better service and greater convenience, whether dealing with government or the private sector. Media and the Internet make it much easier to discover what is possible in other places around the world. It is now far more difficult to explain or justify why technology cannot be used to improve service delivery, increase opportunities and enhance the quality of life at home. The positive pressure being put on government and businesses is helping to accelerate the country’s IT advance. The transformation of Trinidad and Tobago into a more dynamic, knowledge-

based society is well underway. Past and current investments in technology infrastructure and human resource development are already transforming the way the country conducts business and interacts with the world. Now, Trinidad and Tobago is leveraging its ICT advantage to actively shape the future for its people and for a more competitive, diversified economy. Mr. Bevil Wooding is an Internet Strategist and the Caribbean Outreach Manager for Packet Clearing House. He is an advisor to several Caribbean governments and institutions and regularly facilitates regional and international seminars and initiatives related to Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Innovation, Policy, Education and Internet Governance.

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Building Your Star Team Locally


rinidad and Tobago continues to strengthen its reputation as the nearshore destination for offering services to the wider Caribbean and gateway to the Central American market. Foreign companies considering setting up in the Caribbean must spend time investigating their options for building their first local leadership team and human resource support in order to be successful at their market opening. Increasingly, these companies are deciding to outsource their human resource needs to local companies. Trinidad and Tobago’s surge in a higher educated workforce is a result of the country’s open access to tertiary education. This includes distance learning and efforts to reduce barriers to access, for example, to the economically disadvantaged and mature students. The country not only focuses on areas such as accounting, finance and law but has broadened the skills set to electronics, information technology, construction and administration, just to name a few. The availability of higher education and technological advancements within the country allow companies to expand operations and, often, they end up having larger operations outside of their national home. Of course, it should be noted that a competitive compensation package is key to attracting specialised talent. Cross-border collaboration through technology is key when companies seek to recruit professionals and to identify business hubs with attractive talent. The introduction of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) skill certificate provides greater access to the quality of the talent pool available, as the search for the best candidates is extended to the Caribbean region. The pipeline of qualified English-

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Mariska Seereeram Head of Talent & Development, Aegis Business Solutions Ltd speaking candidates is possible through social media, building business relationships and collaboration with educational institutions. Networking plays a significant factor in successfully hiring the best. Apart from postgraduate and undergraduate degrees, T&T’s educational institutions collaborate and network with companies to tailor programmes specific to the needs of their business. This contributes to a more productive and engaged workforce. Several of our institutions prepare students for the corporate world through apprenticeships and internships, which allows for better and easier integration into an organisation. The increase in cross-border collaboration has also spiked the need to bridge the gaps with respect to cultural differences – both corporate and societal culture. Human Resource professionals in Trinidad and Tobago continue to share with business leaders how cultural diversity can contribute to the success of the company setting up in the country. Companies use it to their advantage by encouraging creativity and innovation, hence increasing productivity through the generation of ideas. Expanding overseas is no easy task. Lack of contacts is the number one deterrent for an overseas business that wants to export services and set up in another country. Business owners recognise immediately the importance of hiring a local country manager to gain insight into doing business in Trinidad and Tobago and taking the time to strengthen local networks that can successfully contribute to, and advise on, the business’ development. A local hire understands the business lingo and communication to achieve a successful business transaction. Global companies come into Trinidad and Tobago with the goal of identifying all resources required to begin operations on a single visit. Availability and accessibility

to our Human Resources, through the use of technology, allow us to source potential candidates, set up interviews and conduct assessments or provide information so that the single visit is a success. Some of the common questions by international companies are on local compliance, understanding onboarding practices and termination procedures, compensation packages and adapting their global handbooks in line with local laws and industry practices. Global companies seek providers with established networks and resources to deliver the requested needs. More importantly, local human resource advisors are able to identify opportunities and any hindrances in the hiring process or setting up a local human resource function. Many companies working on short-term to medium-term projects in the Caribbean, prefer to outsource human resource back office support instead of setting up a full office. It is a more cost effective and efficient way to get the projects rolling. Additionally, our local professionals are able to perform and carry out operations in compliance with labour laws, industrial relations and statutory laws relating to payroll. Trinidad and Tobago is emerging as the business hub in the Caribbean and as a BPO. Ranked 42nd in the AT Kearney Global Services Location Index 2016 for Global Service Delivery, the twin-island Republic is strengthening its attractiveness as a destination for offshore services with strong financial services, a healthy business landscape and a skilled workforce. Maintaining a local human resource advisor, or outsourcing the human resource function locally, gives overseas businesses the ability to deliver first class service in compliance with local laws, adapt their global policies appropriately, and be responsive to the local market’s needs.


Aegis Business Solutions Outsourcing & Advisory Services


usinesses are recognising the need for a change in the way they manage and operate. When your company sheds the responsibility of dealing with other back-office duties, management can take a more strategic focus and approach to delivering your core products or services. Aegis is the leading business outsourcing and advisory services provider serving international and local clients across industries. We offer you a comprehensive suite of business support services that allows you to focus on your core objectives. Our local knowledge and industry insights can assist you in making better business decisions regarding how you manage your operations from inception through growth. Accounting Outsourcing - We help you reduce the Financial Close Cycle, prepare statutory financial statements, assist your business in meeting the regulatory requirements or manage accounting activities of a specific project. Tax - All companies must comply with the Income Tax Act, Corporation Tax Act and Value Added Tax Act (VAT). We can assist you in planning and managing timely submissions and advise on complex tax issues. Human Resources - Our advisory services enable you to effectively manage your entire employee life cycle, attract and retain top talent, support compliance with local laws and advise on complex issues including industrial relations and severance issues. Payroll - With payroll legislation changes, it is often difficult for international as well as local clients to know all the required changes to the law. We have the expertise to apply changes to your company’s payroll and process them efficiently, accurately and ensuring confidentiality. Corporate Secretarial - We can act on your behalf to manage the range of services that are required throughout your company’s growth such as incorporation services, statutory compliance and maintenance. Work Permits - We deliver work permit services to our clients in various industries who need to employ foreigners with required expertise to lend support to their businesses. Financial Advisory - Aegis can evaluate your business needs and extend access to resources and financing/capital sourcing. Assurance Services - Aegis & Co. delivers audits in compliance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) without absorbing large global overhead costs. Aegis & Co. is a member of Kudos International Network, which is a member of the Forum of Firms, London, U.K. Aegis is now delivering services from two convenient locations – Scott-Bushe Street, Port of Spain and Hosein Drive, Chase Village. Contact us to schedule a free consultation: or +1 868 625 6473

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Institutional Advantage exporTT - a Valuable Business Resource


s the National Export Facilitation Organization of Trinidad and Tobago, exporTT focuses on generating export growth and diversification in the goods and services sectors, catering to the needs of all exporters. It accomplishes this by increasing the international competitiveness of exporters, developing new exporters across diverse sectors of interest, and expanding to new markets based on market research. At the core of our operations is the creation of an enabling environment for exports, building export capacity, harnessing the differentiating factors that set Trinidad and Tobago exporters apart in the global marketplace, and providing market access opportunities. Our ultimate objective is to build and promote sustainable exports. exporTT works in collaboration with T&T’s network of export support agencies to reshape the manufacturing sector towards a global export outlook, while leading the national charge in the quest to find new and sustainable ways to generate much needed export income. Our services are fashioned to address these goals. Though export development and creating an enabling environment are critical parts of our process, export promotion is the engine room of our operations; the vehicle via which Trinidad and Tobago can realise economic growth. Through export promotion, exporTT creates opportunities for exporters to interact with markets first-hand via the hosting of virtual, inward and/or outward missions. When twinned with participation in trade fairs and/or one-on-one business to business (B2B) meetings, a powerful nexus results which allows exporters access to numerous industry players in a concentrated environment. In October 2016, for example, exporTT organised a large T&T trade delegation, led by the Minister of Trade and Industry, to the Havana International Fair held in Cuba. A diverse contingent comprising 39 companies from our manufacturing and services sectors, as well as a representation from the Energy sector, participated in the Fair. In support of T&T’s Services Sector, exporTT also led a trade mission of five local ICT companies to participate in the 2017 Latin American and the Caribbean Outsourcing and Offshoring Summit (Outsource2LAC), which took place in Costa Rica in March 2017. exporTT assisted the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) at the Summit by overseeing its country booth for Trinidad and Tobago. Notably, exporTT is one of three agencies assisting the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development in the execution of the IDB-financed Global Services Promotion

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exporTT’s export development service builds the capacity of exporters through the provision of training programmes, offers co-financing for specific exportrelated activities and facilitates international standards implementation. Programme (GSPP) initiative, with responsibility for all export promotion activities. Other planned initiatives in 2017 include: – • Toronto Market Survey Mission – May 2017 • A sector-focused Inward Buyers Mission at the Trinidad & Tobago Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) Trade & Investment Convention (TIC) - July 2017 • Panama Trade Mission – August 2017 These initiatives have been carefully selected to fit our strategic focus on extra-regional markets such as Latin America, and developed markets which have a high diaspora concentration such as New York, Miami, Toronto and London. Leveraging current free trade agreements to increase uptake is now receiving exporTT’s attention, with upcoming planned sessions focusing on the Dominican Republic, Canada and Costa Rica. These sessions will be executed on the heels of ongoing trade efforts in Venezuela, Europe and Cuba. Within the next four years, exporTT intends to execute Government’s agenda by exploring possibilities in Asian and African markets. Providing trade intelligence through our Export Market Research Centre (EMRC) is another key aspect of the work at exporTT. The centre utilises databases and publications such as Euromonitor, Panjiva, ITC’s Trade Map and Market Dynamics, as well as information gathered from internal market research, to inform exporters’ decisions on new markets and/or market entry strategies. The EMRC also invests a great deal of attention in researching the best products for exports based on historical export performance, best companies that export those products and the markets best suited for identified products. This produces a short


list of markets for further research on market entry requirements, distribution channels, major competitors, product pricing, tariffs and non-tariff measures. Where possible, joint missions are executed with members of the Export Support Network (ESN) to avoid duplication of effort. exporTT plans to engage with other agencies in the creation of a national schedule to be shared with all agencies and exporters. Our export development service builds the capacity of exporters through the provision of training programmes, offers co-financing for specific export-related activities and facilitates international standards implementation. It also covers a Research and Development Facility which assists companies with product adaptation and business advisory services for assessing the export

potential of new exporters, as well as market insights for export strategies development. Certifying locally manufactured products for preferential access into countries with whom Trinidad and Tobago has trade agreements, and contributing on relevant trade committees, enable exporTT to directly advocate for relevant trade policies with respect to the removal of barriers, the implementation of incentives, and the development of new or revised trade agreements - all in a bid to increase exports. exporTT is a valuable business resource for leveraging the country’s significant advantages to export to the world.

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Supporting Investment, Enabling Business


he national tertiary education landscape in Trinidad & Tobago has seen tremendous growth over the past two decades. In 2000, the percentage of the population that had acquired education at the tertiary level was estimated as only seven per cent. Today, the tertiary education participation rate stands at 60 per cent, with just about 10,000 secondary school graduates, annually, choosing to pursue qualifications at the tertiary level upon graduation. The University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) opened in 2004 and, bolstered by the Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses (GATE) programme which was established that same year, has played a pivotal role in increasing access to tertiary level education while meeting industry demand through its diverse range of programmes. The University now operates at 12 campus locations across Trinidad and Tobago, with an enrolment of over 7,000 students. Each campus plays a key role as a centre of excellence, supporting areas of national economic development. The realisation of UTT’s Signature Complex and Main Campus at Tamana InTech Park will provide a unique space for the University to capitalise on key strategic areas of internationalisation, incubator development, technology commercialisation and new revenue generation opportunities. Providing Quality Programmes UTT is committed to providing the labour market with graduates who possess qualifications that have been evaluated and approved by reputable bodies. This is evidenced by the achievement of Institutional Accreditation from The Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT) and specialised programme accreditation from a number of international bodies. In December 2010, the University was granted Institutional Accreditation by ACTT for a period of seven years and is currently seeking re-accreditation for a further seven-year period. A UTT qualification is relevant, recognised and respected by employers as well as other tertiary institutions, both locally and internationally. While all of the University’s programmes are accredited through its institutional accreditation, several programmes have sought and attained specialised accreditation in response to industry needs. To date, UTT has achieved specialised accreditation for programmes in Petroleum Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Process Engineering, Maritime Studies, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) from several UK institutions,

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namely - the Energy Institute; the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE); the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology; and the Institute of Engineering and Technology. Meeting Industry Needs It is particularly noteworthy that UTT is the first institution in the Caribbean to have its Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Process Engineering programme accredited to full Chartered Engineer status by IChemE in the UK. The Chartered Engineer status ensures that graduates have a recognisable, international, engineering qualification with which they can seek professional registration once they have completed the required amount of training and experience in the workplace. Also noteworthy, through the Maritime Studies academic unit, UTT was recently successful in a bid to host the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre for the Caribbean (MTCC-CA). The MTCC-CA was launched at the UTT Chaguaramas Campus on March 8th, 2017. In addition to the Caribbean, under the Global MTCC Network (GMN) project, the IMO is supporting other global centres in the following locations: China, Africa, Latin America and the Pacific. These MTCCs will form a global network that will work towards promoting ship energy-efficiency technologies and operations, and the reduction of harmful emissions from ships, diminishing the negative effects of climate change from shipping. This project is implemented by the IMO and funded by the European Union (EU). The University has embarked on several other industry development partnerships and initiatives over the years that have paved the way for the realisation of its entrepreneurial mandate, and created opportunities for potential investors to capitalise on the expertise and body of research available within UTT. Supporting National Economic Development UTT’s mission to ‘discover and develop entrepreneurs, commercialise research and development, and spawn companies for wealth generation and sustainable job creation’ for Trinidad and Tobago is being realised through it entrepreneurial thrust and focus. This is reflected throughout all its programme offerings as well as in the unwavering focus of its initiatives and partnerships with industry and institutions alike, in the pursuit of innovative ways for sustainable national development. Since its inception, the University has produced thousands of trained, qualified, entrepreneurial and workforce-ready graduates in the areas of Engineering, Maritime, Fashion and Design, ICT, Education, Performing Arts, Animation, Aviation and Sport. Postgraduate programmes such as those in Innovative


Our Mission - Discover and develop entrepreneurs, commercialise research and development, and spawn companies for wealth generation and sustainable job creation.

Official Opening of the MTCC-CA: The Honourable Anthony Garcia, Minister of Education, cuts the ribbon to open the headquarters of the MTCC-CA at UTT Chaguaramas Campus. Looking on from left are UTT President Professor Dyer Narinesingh, Dr. Stefan Micallef, Director – Marine Environment Division of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), UTT Chairman Professor Kenneth S. Julien (Emeritus), T.C., His Excellency Arend Biesebroek, Ambassador for the European Union Delegation to Trinidad and Tobago and Mrs. Vivian Rambarath-Parasram – Director, MTCC - CA and Assistant Professor, Maritime Studies, UTT.

Design, Manufacturing Management and Entrepreneurship are designed to provide graduates with the necessary technical skills, personal development and industry experience necessary to be effective in their industrial, business or entrepreneurial careers. Graduates are fully equipped to not only contribute effectively to the nation’s labour market needs, but also to provide technical expertise that can be used to develop business services that can assist in resolving or addressing national, regional and international issues within their respective fields.

Developing Entrepreneurs The uSTART initiative, one of only four university-led business incubator facilities in the region, supports an ecosystem that fosters an entrepreneurial mindset and provides a platform to assist the commercialisation efforts of UTT students, faculty and graduates. This initiative provides essential business support services to its participants to effectively facilitate the progression of ideas from the developmental stage to commercialised products and services. The incubators cover four areas with which the University is already associated

via its academic offerings - Animation, Performing Arts, Agro-Processing and Fashion. The uSTART Incubator, which started in September 2014, has provided support to some 44 companies with 74 graduate entrepreneurs. Ten of these start-ups are currently hosted within the physical incubator space, while the others are part of an entrepreneurship network which supports virtual incubation services.

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Prime Commercial Real Estate Up for Grabs It has been estimated by leading real estate agents that there is over 300,000 square feet of first class office accommodation currently on the market.


t’s a great time in Trinidad and Tobago for investors and businesses to find attractive commercial spaces at attractive prices. After a self-imposed moratorium on the construction of commercial real estate around 2009, the year 2014 showed several signs that commercial development had picked up throughout Trinidad and Tobago. Examples of this include: • a 5-storey, 40,000 sq. ft. office building at Queens Park West (Amera Corp) • a 6-storey 68,000 sq. ft. (LEED certified) office building at Queens Park East (RGM) • a 5-storey (LEED certified) office building at Queens Park East (NIB) • three 6-storey office buildings in St. Clair • the 2-storey Milsherv office building in Shirvan, Tobago earmarked for the THA’s Agriculture and Fisheries Division. In South and Central Trinidad, much of the new construction focused on shopping malls, such as: • the C3 Shopping Centre with 6 levels and comprising 600,000 sq. ft. • the South Park Mall with 200,000 sq. ft. of leasable area • the Unicomer Group Complex in Freeport • the proposed $900M upgrade to the Centre City Mall. Furthermore, the then government announced at that time that it was working on a strategic plan for the development of the 4Cs (Couva, Chaguanas, Carapichaima and Charlieville), while the State-owned Urban Development Company of Trinidad & Tobago (UDECOTT) stated that it had a mandate to construct 74 projects at a total cost of $19 billion. Examples of government expenditure in the central region include the new COSTAATT Chaguanas Campus located on Pierre Road Connector, as well as the new Licensing Headquarters at Frederick Settlement, Caroni.

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Unfortunately, Trinidad & Tobago now finds itself in a recession caused, to a large extent, by the drastic drop in energy prices in 2015. With the recession, many businesses have been affected and were either forced to shut down or cut back their operations. This has resulted in the creation of a glut of modern commercial buildings available for rent. It has been estimated by leading real estate agents that there is over 300,000 sq. ft. of first-class office accommodation currently on the market. This has put significant bargaining power in the hands of prospective tenants and rental prices recently quoted for Trinidad can be as low as $18 to $20 per sq. ft., inclusive of service charges. Looking around today at Port-of-Spain’s top quality commercial rental space, we can find a selection of sizes, locations and costs as shown below, and this is by no means the entire list of commercial rental property on the market: - Albion Plaza Energy Centre | 7th floor office space 3,392 sq. ft. - South Quay, POS | office / warehouse / retail showroom space 69,000 sq.ft. - Stanmore Ave, POS | seven-storey commercial building 24,380 sq. ft. - Park Place, POS | office building recently completed 9,432 sq. ft. - St Vincent St, POS | seven-storey office building 23,258 sq. ft. - Abercromby St, POS | five-storey office building 28,410 sq. ft. - Briar Place, St Clair | office space 4,218 sq. ft.


The Beacon Insurance Company Ltd


he Beacon Insurance Company Ltd is a regional provider of all General insurance lines, with branches in Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Grenada and St. Lucia and agencies operating in Dominica, St. Kitts and St Vincent. In a heavily commoditized industry such as insurance, Beacon has sought to differentiate itself through the use of specialized technology which speeds up processing time for all transactions and through the delivery of a superior customer experience that is continuously measured and monitored to ensure consistency in our delivery. Beacon also prides itself in maintaining the principle of sound underwriting of risks versus underwriting for profit or market share. This ensures that when claims arise, they can be paid out as underwritten because we recognize that our customers depend on and deserve it. Recently, Beacon introduced several new products and services, developed with specific segments of our market in mind. • The Be Better plan provides group health and life benefits to small businesses with as little as 3 employees up to 35, so that our plan grows with your business. • Our Premium Financing option now offers 100% financing over

a 12-month period and requires no down payment but instead uses collateral, so that the customer essentially has the option of deciding how that collateral is utilized year after year. • As far as Motor insurance goes, we have introduced a discount program that offers up to 40% in addition to NCD and antitheft discounts as we recognize the current economic situation and the challenge it has presented to our markets. Our CSR and sponsorship initiatives, such as the Sober Zone and regional Movie nights, focus on improving our communities through improving family life, wellness programs and safety above all else. It is through a genuine concern for people that begins at the top of the organization that Beacon is able to truly connect with our customers, using advanced technology to provide carefully thought-out products and services. This allows us to achieve our stated purpose: “To help our customers achieve their goals and recover from setbacks through compassionate delivery of our services…”

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Destination Tobago New Vision, New Drive, New Investment Possibilities Investment opportunities include the development of hotels, restaurants, cruise ports, marinas, new sites and attractions, airport infrastructure, roads and utilities.

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ith the culmination of an exciting Tobago House of Assembly (THA) elections in January 2017, the new Administration is now engaged in vigorous initiatives for restructuring the island, and has identified several short to long-term goals aimed at promoting Tobago as a destination and improving the economic activities of this still little-known Caribbean gem. With the island’s mantra “Clean, Green, Safe and Serene,” Tobago’s growing appeal has transcended the brand of simply sand, sea and sun to focus on a holistic development of the island, featuring rigorous tourism-based strategies, more competitive industries and the development of human capacity on the island - all in an effort to reposition the economy of Tobago to be more competitive within the region. New Administration, New Marketing, New Goals The restructuring process incorporates a conscious effort to position Tobago’s image as a premier tourism destination with a competitive advantage within the region and globally. As a result, there has been a recent paradigm shift which promotes the merging of the cultural sector as part of the island’s dynamic tourism product, to facilitate a more comprehensive marketing and promotion of the destination that will be more strategically focused on providing an authentic Tobago experience. In principle, and with expected practical

outcomes, the changing of the Division’s previous structure to facilitate the newly configured Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation (DOTCT) is expected to improve the management of the island’s tourism product offerings. The DOTCT will spearhead the seamless syncing of the island’s two main tourism generators natural beauty and cultural heritage. Furthermore, newly appointed Secretary for Tourism, Culture and Transportation, Councillor Nadine Stewart-Phillips, assured that under her stewardship, “there is a great commitment to revitalise the tourism sector by working assiduously with a strong mandate to ensure that Tobago experiences economic growth and investment within the tourism sector and all major industries.” Additionally, the Division is focusing on intensifying the marketing efforts of the destination locally, regionally and internationally by effecting a stronger marketing presence in current markets, as well as entry into new regional and international markets. In this regard, the THA recently gave approval for the establishment of a Tobago tourism entity to revitalise the island’s tourism sector to effect a sustainable tourism product and to compete globally. In essence, this new body is expected to improve the island’s marketing framework and effect a more commercially structured tourism and hospitality sector on the island. Some of the expected outcomes of the new marketing and regulatory entity include: • working assiduously with all stakeholders towards the development of Tobago as a premier destination in the Southern Caribbean

Castara Beach, Tobago. Photo: Jason Sookermany

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Destination Tobago New Vision, New Drive, New Investment Possibilities A new tourism entity will improve the island’s marketing framework and effect a more commercially structured tourism and hospitality sector on the island.

• increasing marketing visibility of the destination in an effort to increase visitor arrivals • fostering the development of a better tourism brand based on the various niche markets • assisting with the development of new tourism product offerings and • conducting pertinent research and market intelligence gathering in order to inform effective decision-making in the tourism industry, rebuild trade partner confidence, and identify innovative ways to reach consumers and attract investors to the island. MICE Market The THA continues to transform and diversify the island’s tourism product through its multi-niche tourism strategic thrust with events and festival tourism. The presence of the Shaw Park Complex, which holds 3,700 patrons along with six meeting rooms, has afforded the THA the opportunity to drive the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) market. The success of this facility is dependent on increasing the number of rooms on the island and this further underscores the need for foreign direct investments in Tobago. Festival Tourism Festival tourism has also been used as a catalyst to drive international visitor traffic to the island, thus increasing the awareness of the destination. For example, the “Tobago Jazz Experience” is now considered the flagship tourism tempter event for Tobago. The festival significantly benefits the tourism industry as many stakeholders seek economic gains during the festival. Apart from the airlines, hotels and ferries, other businesses such as car rentals, groceries, tour operators and restaurants all benefit significantly during the jazz engagement period. This

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is certainly an area where keen investors could consider adding value to the business landscape of Tobago. Within the last 10 years, the events industry has mushroomed on the island as more suppliers have invested in event support areas such as stages, power lights, lighting, trussing, décor, scaffolding, catering, transport, portable toilets and generators. There continue to be many opportunities cascading from this growing events industry. Investment Opportunities Tourism investment opportunities are guided by National Tourism Policy, the Tourism Development Act of 2000 and the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Act No. 40 Section 25 (1). Investment opportunities that could be realised within the sector include the development of hotels, restaurants, cruise ports, marinas, new sites and attractions, and infrastructure relating to amenities needed to drive the tourism industry inclusive of airports, road networks and utilities. The THA, through the Development Finance Ltd, has completed the purchase of Sanctuary Resort at Pleasant Prospect and Manta Lodge at Speyside with the aim of improving the room stock capacity and quality of accommodation on the island. There is a need for branded hotels on the island and this is a critical area that the THA seeks to address as it engages Sandals Resorts International through a negotiation team, the Golden Grove Buccoo Company Ltd. The THA is also reviewing a recent request from Apple Leisure /AM Resorts that could lead to further exciting developments in Tobago. PPP Possibilities The THA continues to encourage foreign investors through public-private partnerships in hotel development and


Grammy Award Winner Maxwell at ‘Tobago Jazz Experience’ 2016. Photo courtesy The Tobago House of Assembly

other tourism related industries such as marinas and eco-projects. For example, in order to ensure that visitors can access beautiful Tobago and all its products, infrastructure and transportation is a critical issue. There are currently discussions occurring between the central government and the THA to transform the Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson International Airport, totally enhancing it to achieve greater efficiency at the airport, comfort to all airport users and greater income from concessionaires, as well as increasing the capacity for passenger arrivals to the destination. Cruise Ship Industry The cruise ship industry in Tobago has steadily seen improvement with 2015/2016 cruise season seeing approximately 90,000 cruise visitors. Despite a decrease in the 2016/2017 season, the Division remains optimistic that global trends show

that the Caribbean is still a top priority destination for cruise liners and Tobago has a positive outlook for years to come. This will, however, depend heavily on partnership with all relevant government agencies and the tour operators to ensure that the island improves both its facilities at the ports of call, as well as the tour packages made available for cruise passengers to enjoy the best of Tobago in the limited time they have to experience the island. Eco-development Investment Opportunities The drive for eco-development is a crucial part of sustainable tourism on the island. Several eco-tourism initiatives include the Buccoo Reef Marine Park management plan to ensure the development of the area as a Sustainable Tourism Zone of the Caribbean (STZC). Main Ridge continues to be the hallmark

for eco-tourism activities on the island with the potential for introducing a canopy tour. There is also potential for other softadventure and eco-tourism niches to effect a broader, viable and sustainable green initiative along the lines of developing agro-tourism, nature and sustainable tourism niches. At this juncture of Tobago’s economic development, the strategic vision for Destination Tobago continues to be driven by a thrust to redefine the tourism product and reposition Tobago as a unique and competitive Caribbean destination. The destination anticipates capitalising on the expected increase in tourist arrivals to the Caribbean region and we invite all investors, local and international, to capitalise on the opportunities and benefits that Destination Tobago, this Caribbean paradise, presents to the world.

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Business Trinidad & Tobago Useful Information

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Photo: Edison Boodoosingh


Stock Market Review

Ravi Kurjah Senior Analyst Research & Analytics First Citizens Investment Services


n 2016, the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange, similar to 2015, recorded varied results across all indices. The Composite Index, which consists of all listed companies, including cross listed stocks, advanced by 47.24 points or 4.06% over 2015 levels to close at 1,209.53. Conversely, the All T&T Index declined by 114.26 points or 5.86% when compared to 2015, to close at 1,834.23, as seen in Figure 1. However, the Cross Listed index advanced by 28.66 points or by a noteworthy 57.89% over 2015 values to close at 78.17. The Banking Sector was the best performing in 2016 improving 12.96%, primarily due to significant price appreciation in cross listed stocks FirstCaribbean International (FCI) and National Commercial Bank Jamaica (NCBJ). Also, the Manufacturing II sector index grew 4.07%, led by Prestige Holdings Limited (PHL) which increased 8.91% in 2016 supported by the launch of Starbucks Coffee Company in Trinidad and Tobago. Conversely, unlike 2015’s positive results, the Non-Banking Finance sector index retreated, falling 11.70%, attributed mainly to National Enterprises Limited’s (NEL) 34.94% fall in share price.

Major Developments • Trading in Flavorite Foods Limited (FFL) was suspended due to approved de-listing by the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange Commission (TTSE) in January 2016. • In February 2016 National Enterprises Ltd (NEL) reported a 9 month decline in profits of $142.9 million due in part to the underperformance of its investee companies in the energy sector. • In March, First Citizens Bank Limited repaid a US$175 million bond issued through its wholly owned subsidiary in St Lucia five years ago. • TCL delisted from the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange (“ECSE”), all securities were transferred to the Trinidad and Tobago Central Depository in April 2016. • In May, NCBJ announced the completion of the acquisition of 29.99% shareholding in Guardian Holdings Limited (GHL). • In June, Sagicor Group Jamaica confirmed that it is investing in Palmyra Resort and Spa along with the adjoining power plant owned by Caribbean Green Power Systems Limited. • In July, NCBJ wrote to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States requesting a withdrawal of its Initial Public Offering (IPO) filed four years ago on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). • In August, GraceKennedy (GKC) did a stock split resulting in an increase in the number of GKC shares from 331,577,631 to 994,732,893. The price of the stock was also split by three. • For the month of September, the Arawak Cement Plant cut 40 workers and planned to cut more. The plant, which is owned by TCL, revealed that voluntary separation packages would form part of another restructuring exercise for the company that employs about 150 people. • In October, Guardian Holdings Limited acquired the property operated as the Courtyard by Marriott at Invaders Bay. • In November, NCB announced intentions to raise US$150 million of debt financing, backed by future credit card receipts

Figure 1 Source: Trinidad & Tobago Stock Exchange, First Citizens Research & Analytics

from Visa and MasterCard. • In December, Mexico’s cement giant, Cemex, announced that it would be making a takeover bid for Claxton Bay-based Trinidad Cement Ltd. Trading Activity Market activity in 2016 increased by 17.67% when compared to the previous year. A total of 91,975,523 shares crossed the floor in 2016 compared to 78,163,210 shares in 2015. Overall market activity resulted from trading in 36 stocks of which 13 advanced, 20 declined and 3 traded firm. JMMB Group Limited was the volume leader with 20,397,994 units, 22.18% of total market volume traded or TT$13,589,670.97 in traded value, followed by NCBJ with 15,066,107 units (16.38%) or TT$36,887,282.31 and Trinidad Cement Limited with 14,961,144 units (16.27%) or TT$51,765,446.28 in traded value. Advances and Declines FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited (FCI) was the top performer for 2016, growing a notable 69.66% or TT$3.49 to close the year at TT$8.50. The second best performing stock was JMMB Group Limited (JMMBGL), which recorded a substantial 63.64% improvement or TT$0.35 to end the year at TT$0.90. The next best performing stock was NCBJ, up 42.86% or TT$0.90 to close 2016 at TT$3.00. Table 1 Top 5 Advances Closing Price 2016 Change 2016 (TT$) (TT$) Change % FCI 8.50 3.49 69.66 JMMBGL 0.90 0.35 63.64 NCBJ 3.00 0.90 42.86 SIJL 2.01 0.51 34.00 SFC 7.73 1.53 24.68 Source: Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange, First Citizens Research & Analytics

Readymix (West Indies) Limited (RML) was the worst performing stock for 2016, falling 41.51% to TT$10.99, NEL followed, down 34.94% or TT$5.72 to close at TT$10.65. The third worst performing stock for 2016 was Gracekennedy Limited (GKC) with a decrease of 34.07% or TT$1.38 to TT$2.67. Table 2 Top 5 Declines Closing Price 2016 Change 2016 (TT$) (TT$) Change % RML 10.99 -7.80 -41.51% NEL 10.65 -5.72 -34.94% GKC 2.67 -1.38 -34.07% LJWB 0.66 -0.33 -33.33% MASSY 52.00 -9.45 -15.38% Source: Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange, First Citizens Research & Analytics

DISCLAIMER This report has been prepared by First Citizens Investment Services Limited, a subsidiary of First Citizens Bank Limited. It is provided for informational purposes only and without any obligation, whether contractual or otherwise. All information contained herein has been obtained from sources that First Citizens Investment Services believes to be accurate and reliable. All opinions and estimates constitute the author’s judgment as at the date of the report. First Citizens Investment Services does not warrant the accuracy, timeliness, completeness of the information given or the assessments made. Opinions expressed may change without notice. This report does not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities discussed herein. The securities discussed in this report may not be suitable to all investors, therefore Investors wishing to purchase any of the securities mentioned should consult an investment adviser.

Business Trinidad & Tobago • 87


Fast Facts Guide OFFICIAL NAME Republic of Trinidad and Tobago LOCATION The southern end of the Caribbean archipelago: Latitude 10.5° N / Longitude 60.5° W. Area - 4820 sq km / 1864 sq mls. Tobago - Latitude 11.5° N / Longitude 60.5° W. Area - 300 sq km / 116 sq mls. TIME ZONE Dry Season: EST equivalent to GMT – 4 or 5 hours Rainy Season: EST + 1 hour, GMT – 4 hours. No daylight saving time in T&T. CLIMATE Mean temperatures of 85 degrees Fahrenheit with 60% humidity in the dry season of January to May, and 90 degrees with 75% humidity June to December. Nighttime temperatures can drop to around 70 degrees in the cooler months. CAPITAL CITY Port of Spain, Trinidad, seat of the national democratic government. Scarborough, Tobago, seat of the local government body, the Tobago House of Assembly (THA). POPULATION Estimated population 1.3 million of which 55,000 reside in Tobago. THE GOVERNMENT Trinidad and Tobago’s government is a parliamentary democracy. The head of state is the President, who is elected by an Electoral College of members of the Senate and House of Representatives for a five-year term. Executive power, however, is vested in the Prime Minister and Government following elections every five years. Citizens of Trinidad and Tobago must be 18 years or older to be eligible to vote. The next general election is constitutionally due in 2020. LEGAL SYSTEM The legal system is based on common law and statutes. The judicial system comprises Magistrates Courts and the Supreme Court, which comprises the High Court and the Court of Appeal. There is a separate Industrial Court that deals with most labour matters. The Judicial and Legal Service Commission appoints judges to the Supreme Court. Final appeal is to the Privy Council in England, but consideration is being given to replacing the Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice, inaugurated in April 2005 with headquarters in Port of Spain.,, ETHNIC PROFILE 35.4% East Indian descent 34.2% African descent 22.8% Mixed descent 1.4% Other (European, Arab and Chinese)

88 • Business Trinidad & Tobago

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE English (Spanish is being promoted as Trinidad and Tobago’s first foreign language) CURRENCY Trinidad and Tobago dollar tied to the US$ and floating at: US$1 = TT$6.78 Notes: $1, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 Coins: 5, 10, 25 and 50 For daily Foreign Exchange Rates: BUSINESS DRESS CODE Trinidad is more formal with lightweight suits worn, but in Tobago jackets are optional except on formal occasions. Outfits with sleeves must be worn to conduct business in Government offices. BUSINESS HOURS Generally 0800 to 1600 Monday to Friday, retail outlets 0800 to 1600 except at Malls where opening time is 1000 and closing is 1900. MAJOR BANKS The major banks have their main corporate offices in Port of Spain with branches in strategic locations throughout Trinidad and Tobago. They maintain international links through their affiliates in North America and Europe. • Bank of Baroda (Trinidad only) • CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank (Trinidad only) • Citi (Trinidad only) • First Citizens Trinidad & Tobago • JMMB Bank • RBC Royal Bank • Republic Bank • Scotiabank Banking hours are 0800 to 1400 Monday to Thursday, 0800 to 1200 and 1500 to 1700 Friday. Mall branches: usually 1000 to 1700. All banks have Automatic Banking Machines (ABMs) and major shopping malls contain either full service branches or ABMs. The ABM banking system features LINX, which enables clients to access accounts from any

ABM regardless of agency in the country. LINX can also be used to make purchases at retail outlets throughout the country. ABMs also offer access to advance cash withdrawals for VISA, MasterCard and VISA Plus clients. TRAVELLER’S CHEQUES AND CREDIT CARDS Accepted in most establishments. Customs & Excise Division accepts cash only. Other Government agencies may accept cash or LINX only. DUTY FREE SHOPPING Available at the Cruise Ship Complex, Piarco and A.N.R Robinson International Airports Apadoca’s at Crews Inn for boats leaving the country. TAXATION TAX Departure Tax

RATE TT$200 is included in the cost of the airline ticket. Citizens over the age of 60 years old are exempted Hotel Tax 10% service charge Hotel Room Tax 10% service charge Value Added Tax 12.5% on consumer goods (VAT) and services Income Tax 25% Corporation 25% on Chargeable Profits Income Tax 15% on Long-term Insurance Business Insurance Premium Tax 6% Withholding Taxes Varies TELEPHONE 1 (868) + seven digit number ELECTRICITY 115 volts / 230 volts (+/- 6%) and 60Hz ROAD SYSTEMS Driving is on the left side of the road. DOMESTIC FERRY SERVICE Trinidad and Tobago offers an inter-island fast ferry service between Port of Spain in Trinidad and Scarborough in Tobago. The T&T Express and T&T Spirit and conventional, slower ferry – the Warrior Spirit

Select Economic Indicators Date Real GDP Growth - Total

Per Cent Unemployment Import Cover Central Change in the Rate (%) (months) Government Index of Retail Total Revenue Prices - (TT$Mn) Inflation Rate (%)

2010 3.3 2011 -0.3 2012 1.3 2013 2.7 2014 -0.6 2015 -0.6 2016 -2.3

10.5 5.1 9.3 5.2 5.7 4.7 3.1

5.9 5.1 4.9 3.7 3.3 3.4 n.d.

13.3 13.7 10.6 12.2 12.9 11.2 10.5

Central Government Total Expenditure (TT$Mn)

45,064.0 43,606.5 50,084.5 48,993.5 47,062.0 52,284.2 57,617.8 58,369.8 55,686.2 63,950.4 55,703.4 59,516.9 n.d. n.d.

Source: Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, Selected Economic Indicators Annual.


- transport passengers and cargo. Tickets can be purchased on the same day or in advance at various Travel Agencies and Internet Cafes in Trinidad or Tobago. Photo identification is required. • Adult passengers on the Fast Ferry service TT$50 one way and TT$100 round trip • Children (3-12 years): TT$25 one way and TT$50 round trip • All children under the age of 3 and senior citizens of T&T 60 years & over travel free. • Private cars cost TT$150 one way and TT$250 round trip. For more information: WATER TAXI SERVICE The Water Taxi sails from San Fernando to Port of Spain and back ($15 one way) from Monday to Friday. The Water Taxi Service is closed on Sundays and Public Holidays. Tickets can be purchased at the Water Taxi Terminals located at Lady Hailes Avenue in San Fernando or the Cruise Ship Complex in Port of Spain. Free parking is available at both ports. Minors one year & under and senior citizens of T&T 65 years & over travel free. PTSC’s Bus Shuttle Service is available for Water Taxi passengers on arrival in Port of Spain. For the sailing schedule and other information, visit: or watertaxiservice or call 624-5593. Customer Care Hotline: 800-4WTS (4987). N.B. Personal photo identification is needed when travelling between isles and water taxi services and when purchasing tickets for the ferry, water taxi and airline service. MEDIA Daily Press includes: Trinidad Express, Trinidad Guardian and Newsday. Bi-weekly: TnT Mirror. Weeklies: Tobago News, Catholic News, Bomb, Blast, Metro, Showtime, The Independent, The Weekend Heat, The Probe, Sunday Punch and Newspaper Direct Trinidad and Tobago. Monthly: Trinidad and Tobago Review, Easterly and Westerly. Local television stations: CCN TV-6 (Channels 6 & 18 in Trinidad and Channel 19 in Tobago), CNMG (Channels 9 and 13), ACTS (Channel 25), Cable News Channel CNC3 (Channels 12 & 14), Gayelle (Channels 23 & 27), Government Information Services Limited (Channels 4 & 16), Synergy TV (Channel 33), The Parliament Channel (Trinidad and Tobago) (Channel 29), WIN TV (Channel 37 & 39) and Tobago Channel (Channel 5 Tobago only). Local television programming via cable television: CCN TV-6 (5 Flow, 100 Blink, 130 DirecTV), CNMG (6 Flow & 102 Blink), ACTS (9 Flow & 112 Blink), Cable News Channel CNC3 (3 Flow, 104 Blink, 131 DirecTV), Darut Tarbiyah The Islamic Network (T.I.N.) (96 Flow, 115 Blink, 10 Green Dot), Gayelle (7 Flow, 106 Blink),

Government Information Services Limited (4 Flow, 103 Blink), ieTV (1 Flow & 116 Blink), Islamic Broadcast Network - IBN (8 Flow, 114 Blink), Jaagriti TV (90 Flow), NCC TV4 (4 Flow & 103 Blink), Sankhya TV (117 Blink, 13 Green Dot), Synergy TV (15 Flow, 108 Blink), The Parliament Channel (11 Flow), Trinity TV (10 Flow), WI Sport (14 Flow), WIN TV (12 Flow, 110 Blink). There are about 39 radio stations. EMERGENCY SERVICES Port of Spain General Hospital 623-2951, San Fernando General Hospital 652-3581 and the Scarborough General Hospital 660-4SGH (4744). Roxborough Hyperbaric Facility (RHF), the Dive Chamber, is the only recompression chamber available at the Roxborough Medical Clinic in Tobago. For more information about the facility you can call 660-5155.

EMERGENCY SERVICE TEL NOS. Ambulance/ Trinidad Emergency Relief 811 Tobago Emergency Relief 211 Coast Guard 634-4440 Crime Stoppers 800-TIPS (8477) Fire 990 Police/Rapid Response 999; 911 The Office of 800-ODPM Disaster Preparedness (6376) and Management 640-1285; (ODPM) 640 8905 Trinidad 640-8653; 640-6493 Tobago 660-7489

AIRPORTS Piarco International Airport (POS) - 17 miles (27 km) from Port of Spain. A.N.R Robinson International Airport (TAB) - 7 miles (10km) from Scarborough. AIRLINES Piarco International Airport is serviced with scheduled flights: AIRLINES


American Airlines AA British Airways BA Caribbean Airlines BW (National Carrier) Copa Airlines CM Conviasa Airlines VO Insel Air 7I Jet Blue Airways B6 Laser Airlines LER LIAT (Regional Carrier) LI Rutaca Airlines 5R Surinam Airways PY United Airlines UA West Jet Airlines WS

Miami (MIA) St Lucia (UVF) London Gatwick (LGW) The Caribbean, North America Panama (PTY) Margarita (PMV) Curacao (CUR) New York (JFK), Fort Lauderdale (FLL) Magarita The Caribbean Magarita (PMV) Surinam (PBM), Curacao (CUR) Houston (IAH), Newark (EWR) Toronto (YYZ)

TELEPHONE CONTACT 1-868-627-7013 / 821-6000 1-868-669-6556 / 1-800-247-9297 1-800-452-1201 1-868-625-7200 1-868-669-5949 / 800-271-2672 1-868-627-8172 / 1-868-627-8078 1-868- 669-2288

1-868-669-2982 / 1-868-627-6274 1-868-669-4688 1-868-627-0102 / 1-868- 627-4747 1-868-669-8782 / 1-800-864-8331 1-403-444-2586

in addition to charter operators such as: AIRLINES


Miami Country Airlines Sun Country Airlines


Punta Cana (PUJ) New York (JFK)

TELEPHONE CONTACT 1-868-669-4688 1-868-669-4688

A.N.R Robinson International Airport, formerly known as the Crown Point International Airport, also sees scheduled flights from: AIRLINES


British Airways BA Caribbean Airlines BW Condor Airlines DE Virgin Atlantic VS

London Gatwick (LGW) The Caribbean North America New York (JFK) Frankfurt (FRA) London Gatwick (LGW)

TELEPHONE CONTACT 1-868-639-0588 / 1-868-639-0595 1-868-660-7200

1-868-639-0484 / 1-868-639-9744 1-800-744-7477

For more information on scheduled dates and times log on to The domestic “airbridge” is operated by Caribbean Airlines based in Trinidad, flying regular daily flights between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. to Tobago. The domestic fare for an adult is TT$150 single and TT$300 round trip. Internet bookings are available at

Business Trinidad & Tobago • 89


Trinidad Contact Information Association of Real Estate Agents (AREA) Suite A4, Kencita Court 76 Picton Street, Newtown Port of Spain Tel: (868) 628-9048 Fax: (868) 628-9049

Chaguanas Chamber of Industry & Commerce (CCIC) 17-18 Biljah Road IDC Industrial Estate, Chaguanas Tele: (868) 671-2242 (CCIC) Fax (868) 671-2242

Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries Levels 15 & 22-26, Energy Tower International Waterfront Centre #1 Wrightson Road, Port of Spain Tel: (868) 626-6334, 623-6708, or 62-MOEEI Fax: (868) 625-0306

Association of Trinidad and Tobago Insurance Companies (ATTIC) 8 Stanmore Avenue, Port-of-Spain Tel: (868) 624-2817, 625-2940 Fax: (868) 625-5132

Customs and Excise Division Government Campus Plaza Ajax Street, Wrightson Road Port of Spain Tel: (868) 625-3311

Ministry of Finance Level 8, Eric Williams Finance Building Port of Spain Tel: (868) 627-9700 ext. 2805-9 Fax: (868) 627-5882

Bankers Association of Trinidad and Tobago c/o Institute of Banking and Finance of Trinidad and Tobago 16 Gray Street, St. Clair Port of Spain PO Box 1259 Tel: (868) 622-0282; 628-2944 Fax: (868) 628-9718 Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC) P.O. Box 6541 TT Post, Maraval Trinidad & Tobago Tel: (868) 622-8936 Caribbean Chemicals & Agencies Ltd #24 Garden Road Aranguez Trinidad Tel: (868) 638-3063/6063/4769/ Fax: (868) 674-5292 CARIRI Centre for Enterprise Development Headquarters Address: University of the West Indies St Augustine Campus Tel: (868) 299-0210 Fax: (868) 662-7177 Trincity West Industrial Estate, Macoya Phone: (868) 285-5050 Email: Central Bank of Trinidad & Tobago Eric Williams Financial Plaza Independence Square P.O. Box 1250, Port-of-Spain Tel: (868) 625-2601/4921/4835/0121 Fax: (868) 627-4023

90 • Business Trinidad & Tobago

Employers’ Consultative Association of Trinidad and Tobago (ECA) #17 Samaroo Road Aranguez Roundabout North Aranguez Tel: (868) 675-9388/0273/5873 Fax: (868) 675-4866 Ernst & Young Services Ltd 5-7 Sweet Briar Road, St Clair Port-of-Spain Tel: (868) 628-1105 Fax: (868) 622-0918 Evolving Tecknologies and Enterprise Development Company Ltd (eTecK) Flagship Complex 9-15 e TecK Blvd. Tamana InTech Park Wallerfield Tel: (868) 224-1989 Sales: (868) 224-1974 Fax: (868) 224-1980 exporTT Ltd Head Office: 151B Charlotte Street Port-of-Spain Tel: (868) 623-5507; 624-3932 Fax: (868) 625-8126; 624-3919 InvesTT Issa Nicholas Tower Level 19, Nicholas Tower 63-65 Independence Square Port of Spain Tel: (868) 225-4688 Fax: (868) 225-5820

Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Head Office: Ministry Food Production St. Clair Circle, St Clair Tel: (868) 622-1221 Fax: (868) 622-8202 Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs Level 10-14, Tower C Waterfront Complex 1A Wrightson Road Port of Spain Tel: (868) 623-6894 Fax: (868) 624-4220 Ministry of National Security Temple Court 31-33 Abercromby Street Port of Spain Tel:(868) 623-2441-5 Fax: (868) 627-8044 Ministry of Planning & Development Level 14, Eric Williams Financial Complex Independence Square, Port of Spain Tel: (868) 627-9700 Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs 12 Abercromby Street Port of Spain Tel: (868) 625-5622-4 Ministry of Trade and Industry Level 9, 11-17, Nicholas Towers 63-65 Independence Square Port-of-Spain Tel: (868) 623-2931-4 Fax: (868) 627-8488; 627-0002


Ministry of Works & Transport Main Administrative Building Corner Richmond and London Streets Port of Spain Tel: (868) 625-1225 Fax: (868) 625-8070 National Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (NIDCO) #3 Melbourne Street Port of Spain Tel:(868) 627-9474 Fax: (868) 623-0310 Office of Disaster Preparedness & Management (ODPM) 4A Orange Grove Road Trincity, Tacarigua Customer Emergency Call Centre: 511 Tel: (868) 640-1285/8905/8653/6493 Fax: (868) 640-8988; publicinfo.odpm@ Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago Administrative Building 1 Dock Road, Port of Spain Tel: (868) 623-2901-5 Fax: (868) 627-4945 Port of Point Lisas PLIPDECO House, Orinoco Drive Point Lisas Industrial Estate, Couva Tel: (868) 636-2201 Cargo Handling: (868) 636-2202, 4388, 2137, 4006 Port Marine: (868) 636-7678, 2132 Fax: (868) 636-4008, 679-2907

The American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM) 62A Maraval Road, Newtown Port of Spain Tel: (868) 622-4466, 622-0340 Fax: (868) 628-9428

Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries Ltd (TTCSI) 45 Cornelio Street Woodbrook, Port of Spain Tel: (868) 622-9229 Fax: (868) 622-8985

The Energy Chamber of Trinidad & Tobago Suite B2.03 Atlantic Plaza, Atlantic Avenue Point Lisas, Couva Tel: (868) 6-ENERGY, 679-6623, 679-1398 Fax: (868) 679-4242

Trinidad & Tobago Creative Industries Company Limited 47 Long Circular Road, St James Port of Spain Tel: (868) 622-1455, 628-1156, 628-1028

The National Information and Communication Technology Company Ltd (iGovTT) Level 1-3, Lord Harris Court #52 Pembroke Street Port of Spain Tel: (868) 627-5600 Fax: (868) 624-8001 The Trinidad Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism Association (THRTA) c/o Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute Airway Road, Chaguaramas Tel: (868) 634-1174/5 Fax: (868) 634-1176 Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS) 1-2 Century Drive Trincity Industrial Estate Macoya Tel: (868) 662-8827 Fax: (868) 663-4335

Shipping Association of Trinidad & Tobago 15 Scott Bushe Street Port of Spain Tel: (868) 625-2388, 623-3355 Fax: (868) 623-8570

Trinidad and Tobago Contractors Association The Professional Centre Ground Floor Unit A303 11-13 Fitzblackman Drive South Woodbrook, Port of Spain Tel: (868) 627-1266

Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago 111-117 Henry Street Port of Spain Tel: (868) 623-1954, 623-2448 Fax: (868) 624-7184 Email:

Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce (TTCIC) Chamber Building, Columbus Circle Westmoorings or P.O. Box 499, Port of Spain Tel: (868) 637-6965-6 Fax: (868) 637-7425

Trinidad & Tobago Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Secretariat 15th Floor, International Watefront Centre # 1 Wrightson Road Port of Spain Tel: (868) 623-6708 ext 2787 Fax: (868) 625-0829 Trinidad & Tobago International Financial Centre (TTIFC) 15th Floor, Tower D International Waterfront Centre 1 Wrightson Road P.O. Box 735, Port of Spain Tel: (868) 627-3081 Fax: (868) 624-0794 Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) 42 Tenth Avenue, Barataria Tel: (868) 675-8862 Fax: (868) 675-9000 Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange Ltd 10th Floor, Nicholas Tower 63-65 Independence Square Port of Spain Tel: (868) 625-5107, 625-5109 Fax: (868) 623-0089

Business Trinidad & Tobago • 91


Tobago Contact Information Chamber of Industry and Commerce Tobago Chapter 2nd Floor ANSA McAL Building Milford Road, P.O. Box 47 Scarborough, Tobago Tel: (868) 639-2669 Fax: (868) 639-3014 Cruise Ship Complex Scarborough Tel: (868) 635-0934 Eco-Industrial Development Company of Tobago (E-IDCOT) Ltd First Floor, Isaac T. McLeod Building Sislyn Thomas-Craig Road Cove Eco-Industrial and Business Park Canoe Bay Road, Lowlands Tobago Tel: (868) 635-COVE (2683), 660-COVE (2683) Fax: (868) 631-COVE (2683), 635-2214 Environment Tobago (NGO) 11 Cuyler Street or P O Box 503 Scarborough Tobago Tel: (868) 660-7462 Fax: (868) 660-7467 Evolving Tecknologies and Enterprise Development Company Ltd (eTecK) Unit 2, Sangster’s Hill (Tobago) Scarborough Tel: (868) 639-6275 Fax: (868) 639-6275

exporTT Ltd E-Teck Mall, Sangster´s Hill Scarborough Tobago Tel: (868) 639-4067, 639-2549 Fax: (868) 639-4340 The Travel Foundation L.P. 159, Black Rock Tobago Tel: (868) 635-0032 Contact: Ms. Rosemary Thomas, Project Co-ordinator Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) Office of the Chief Secretary Bacolet Street, Fairfield Complex Scarborough Tobago Customer Emergency Call Center: 211 Tel: (868) 631-CERT (2378), 660-7489 Tobago Hotel & Tourism Association Apt. 1 Lambeau Credit Union Bldg. Auchenskeoch Road, Carnbee PO Box 295 Scarborough Tobago Tel: (868) 639-9543 Fax: (868) 639-9543

Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Division of Finance and Enterprise Development Victor E. Bruce Financial Complex 14-16 Wilson Road Scarborough Tel: (868) 635-1203, 635-2989, 635-1254 Fax: (868) 639-4927 Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Division of Tourism and Transportation 12 Sangster’s Hill Scarborough Tobago Tel: (868) 639-2125 or 639-4636 Fax: (868) 639-3566; Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Office of the Chief Secretary Administrative Complex Calder Hall Tobago Tel: (868) 639-2696 Fax: (868) 639-5374 Tourist Information Offices Crown Point International Airport Tel: (868) 639-0509

List of Advertisers Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort...................................................65

Southern Sales & Service Company Limited........Inside Front Cover

Bhagwansingh’s.............................................. 5

Massy Technologies Applied Imaging.... 73

Stork Technical Services Trinidad and

Blue Waters Inn.............................................65

MovieTowne............................................. 68-69

Tobago Limited........................................... 37

Equilibrium Environmental Services Ltd.................................................36

Pigeon Point Heritage Park.......................66

The Beacon Insurance Company Ltd.......81

Prestige Business Publications................... 9

Tobago House of Assembly......................67

Ernst & Young Services Limited................41

RBC Royal Bank.............................................21

Trade and Investment Convention..........29

GCG Events....................................................36 Hyatt Regency Trinidad..... 65, Back Cover

Renew Star Serpentine Limited............................Inside Back Cover

Trinidad & Tobago International Financial Centre (TTIFC).........................47

Ibis Eye............................................................65

Republic Bank Limited.................................. 3

Kam Wah Restaurant & Event Centre....65

Signature Hall................................................65

Trinidad & Tobago Securities Exchange Commission................................................. 77

Aegis................................................................. 75 Angostura Limited.......................................... 1

92 • Business Trinidad & Tobago

Business Trinidad & Tobago 2017 - 2018 Edition  

The Business Trinidad and Tobago publication showcases the different business trends, lifestyle, sports and much more of the both islands, T...

Business Trinidad & Tobago 2017 - 2018 Edition  

The Business Trinidad and Tobago publication showcases the different business trends, lifestyle, sports and much more of the both islands, T...