The Corporate Sustainability Review - CSR 2014-2015

Page 1

Caring for

Our commitment extends far beyond supplying the products and services that meet your financial needs. We understand that we are only as strong as the neighbourhoods in which we live and work, and so at RBC we are dedicated to empowering people through significant investments in the communities in which we operate.

For more than three decades we have been doing just that through our Young Leaders Programme which has helped thousands of teenagers in Trinidad and Tobago and the Eastern Caribbean realise their full potential. Starting this year, RBC entered into a partnership with the internationallyacclaimed, youth organisation Free The Children that both enhances and broadens the programme, cementing our reputation as a bank that

deeply values the sustainable development of young people.

We’re also providing much needed financial support to cancer patients through the RBC Caribbean Children’s Cancer Fund and aligned with several non-governmental organisations that are doing amazing work with children and teens.

The RBC Blue Water Project has allowed us to partner with local organisations that are working to ensure that we have access to water we can use, both now and for future generations.

In the field of sport, we are supporting youth tennis and football and in the arts we are the proud sponsor of the annual RBC Focus: Filmmakers’ Immersion, an intensive development programme for emerging filmmakers from the Caribbean and its Diaspora.

As we serve our communities our goal is to make a positive and sustainable impact through investments in education, the arts and culture, health, the environment, sports and social services.

None of this would be possible, however, without the tireless efforts of our employees who remain passionate about participating in the bank’s volunteerism programme which allows them to nominate a charity of choice for financial support.

At RBC we understand that caring for YOU means partnering with others to build stronger communities and a better Trinidad and Tobago.

It’s All About You

The Young Leaders of Bishop Anstey High School, EAST, took to the streets of Trincity last weekend to raise awareness about, their 2015 project under the theme, Digital Citizenship: Responsibly Navigating Technology. We Are Better Youth was formed with the aim of saving young lives and creating a positive future for the youth of the Laventille area and environs. The goal of the programme is to promote and cultivate youth entrepreneurship through education and career opportunities for the youth of the community. The values of Integrity, Respect and Caring, considered to be important in developing successful citizens, will support the entrepreneurial spirit and infuse positive mindsets, responses and actions. For more than 35 years, RBC has been supporting junior tennis in Trinidad and Tobago and the RBC Junior Tennis Tournament is only one of the tournaments on the calendar. RBC Volunteers gave of their time to Horses Helping Humans (HHH), a non-governmental organisation that provides therapeutic horseback riding (known as hippotherapy) to children with special needs.
to build stronger communities and a better Trinidad and Tobago
2015 Young Leaders participate in the rst RBC Young Leaders Leadership Conference facilitated by our education partner and international charity organisation, Free The Children. The conference was held for more than 90 Young Leaders over two days.
T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 3 Contents Editorial 5 CSR Stories Methanex’s Eco-Heroes Initiative Students remove more than 350,000 bottles 6 Good Food - Good Life Nestlé Trinidad’s commitment to healthy nutrition brings global standards to its drinks products 8 Community Regeneration to Save the Next Generation How BGTT is using data and research to inform evidence-based interventions for long-term solutions in high-risk communities 12 Republic Bank’s Inclusive Social Investment How the Bank’s CSR programmes are making a positive difference 16 NGC Leveraging CSR to improve safety for operations and communities in T&T 18 Investing Where it Matters Most PPGPL provides support to community and country 22 With Petrotrin there are No Losers Supporting prison reform through music 24 BPTT’s MIPED Story 12 years of community transformation 28 The UNICOMER Group (Trinidad) Committed to Community 32 The Dream Catcher Blink|Bmobile inspires with its “#WhatUWannaBe” Campaign 34 HYATT’s Thrive Programme Employee-centred, employee-driven CSR 36 CSR Perspectives Giselle Laronde-West Angostura Limited 38 Toni Sirju-Ramnarine Atlantic LNG Company of Trinidad and Tobago 39 Ronda Francis BPTT 40 Brian Collins Columbus Communications Trinidad Limited 41 Conscious Leader Gregory Sloane-Seale Forging a Culture of Peace through the Citizen Security Programme 42


CSR Lessons

CSR and Global Health Threats

Donna P. Ramsammy

Deputy Editor

Jasmin Singh

The Trinidad and Tobago Corporate Social Responsibility Review features the unique social programmes and experiences of companies from a wide range of sectors including Energy, Finance, Manufacturing, Communication Services, Retail and others as they strengthen communities and transform lives across Trinidad and Tobago.

Contributing Editor

Linda Hutchinson-Jafar

VYTT is a member of The Corporate Huddle communications consultancy group.

Art Director

Kathryn Duncan



Virtually Yours T&T (VYTT)

Donna P. Ramsammy

Production Coordinator

Deputy Editor

Valery Marin

Wendy Singh

Publisher VYTT

Contributing Editor

Linda Hutchinson-Jafar


Art Director

Andre Neufville (where credited) Company photos

Kathryn Duncan



Virtually Yours T&T (VYTT)

Office Authority LImited

Production Coordinator


Valery Marin

Donna Ramsammy

J. Wendy Singh

Linda Hutchinson-Jafar

Publisher VYTT

Ronda Francis

Esther Le Gendre



Andre Neufville (where credited)

What can organizations do to help abate this issue


Data-Driven CSR

We need data and business-focussed professionals to advance CSR in the local context


Youth Forum on Climate Change

Building a cadre of youth leaders


Greenhouse Gases, Business and You

What you should know about climate change


CSR Features

The Children’s Ark

Protecting the Vulnerable


Building Bridges with the Arts

Out of kidnapping trauma, TallMan soars high

58 Directory

Photos for CSR stories supplied by the featured company




Virtually yours T&T Ltd; Suite 102 43-45 Woodford Street, Newtown, POS, Trinidad & Tobago W.I. Phone/Fax 1.868.628.2288

Office Authority Ltd., Trinidad and Tobago


Contributing Writers

Sheldon Daniel . Pat Ganase . Linda Hutchinson-Jafar

Stefan Lechner . Donna Ramsammy . Wendy Singh


Virtually Yours T&T Ltd; #22 Alfredo Street, Woodbrook, POS Phone/Fax 1.868.623.3892



Conscious Leader: Gregory Sloane-Seale

Oil prices! Political fracases! Chick-V and health care! Public Service protests! It’s been an eventful year in Trinidad and Tobago on many fronts - so too for CSR practitioners.

Companies are aiming to recalibrate business plans to respond to the new and unprecedented socio-economic issues, which are presenting major challenges to corporate ethics, philosophy and brand values and putting at risk a number of CSR projects.

The dramatic fall in oil prices has dictated shifts in corporate spending that have adversely impacted social investment levels – especially among energy majors where policy is set outside of Trinidad and Tobago. This, coupled with the increased scrutiny applied to spending at state enterprises introduced more complex processes for securing funding for local CSR initiatives and even for reporting.

As we assembled stories for the 2015 edition, the TTCSR Review felt pressed to

actively advocate for companies to stay focussed on their CSR philosophies and strategies amidst the signals of revenue constraints. The case for sustained social spending in an economic downturn is a hard one to make, but if the CSR rationale is well defined and well-aligned to business plan objectives, there would be clear indications that businesses can benefit from maintaining commitments to social investment projects during an economic downturn –especially given the negative spin-off effects upon communities as both state and private employers are forced to cut back spending and even to release workers.

Following the deep recession of 2008, the biennial ‘State of Corporate Citizenship’ survey undertaken by the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship showed that “the recession has deepened the integration of corporate citizenship into the core of business strategy and operation.” According to the report, 54% of executives surveyed said “corporate citizenship was more important during a recession.”

This is not just as an act of corporate conviction; business sustainability continues to be very much linked to reputation. Apart from service and product integrity, reputation relies heavily on a company’s credibility and how it lives out the values it espouses. Reputation was cited by 70% of respondents as a driver for corporate citizenship.

In our interviews with local business leaders, many of them support the view that business must share the burden of addressing social issues -particularly that of crime and security, health and education.

Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft, commented in a 2011 interview with the Wall Street Journal, that in a downturn, it is critical that business stays focussed on the needs of the poor. For example, he says, aid budgets shouldn’t be cut on

issues of global health such as HIV/AIDS, polio eradication or malaria treatment. The UK government recently committed to increasing their budgetary spend on global health issues by 7% of GDP thereby setting a unique example for the rest of the EU. They see this as a no-compromise issue. Businesses must likewise follow.

In this issue we have focussed on citizenry safety and security which is multi-faceted and complex. Our feature writers examine the issues of global health, safety nets for childhood security, interventions and rehabilitation for the marginalised and the need for strategic partnerships for social stability. There are also interesting professional lessons on the environment and the use of data in CSR.

Also in this edition, we have introduced a new segment, “CSR Perspectives”, featuring personal views of industry professionals on the practice of CSR. The opinions point to an important fact. For many people in the field, CSR is not just a job they have been given, but more a path that they have chosen. Unlike many corporate roles, the day jobs of CSR practitioners and some business leaders, provide them an avenue to actively participate in resolving social problems.

In the company reports, we also see how many good companies are working hard at addressing some of the challenges of social and economic security through funding, academic collaboration, micro-loans, personal coaching, technological interventions and employee volunteerism.

We hope you enjoy this edition as much as we did in putting it together. Be sure to give us your feedback and recommendations on our Virtual Editors VYTT Facebook.


Eco-Heroes: Caring for our Environment Students remove more than 350,000 bottles

Sixteen primary schools in the Caroni Education District collected over 350,000 plastic bottles for recycling. The schools participated in Methanex Trinidad Limited’s Eco-Heroes initiative to engage students, their parents, teachers and community in a ‘plasti-thon’.

Within a five week period from September 5, 2014, the first eight primary schools removed over 180,000 plastic bottles from the environment, which otherwise might have ended up polluting water courses or sitting in landfills where their decomposition might take several hundred years.

In 2015, the Eco-Heroes Plasti-thon welcomed eight additional schools and began with an education caravan where students engaged in interactive sessions, learning about the environmental dangers of the mismanagement of plastic waste and the importance of proper waste segregation and recycling.

Encouraged to act more responsibly around recycling by the very visual presentation delivered by nongovernmental partner, The SAVE Foundation, the students eagerly committed themselves toward helping their schools achieve and even surpass the 18,000 bottle per school target.

In Trinidad, an average of 500 million plastic beverage bottles is disposed every year. If the bottles were laid out on the ground, they would cover the Queen’s Park Savannah more than 11 times!

It’s why Methanex advanced their signature Eco-Heroes initiative from a walkathon to a ‘plasti-thon’ to strengthen its environmental and educational value. For each bottle collected, Methanex donated TT$1.00 to a maximum of TT $18,000 per

school, to be used for library upgrades and/ or other literacy initiatives. Significantly, the bottles - polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and lowdensity polyethylene (LDPE) are recycled.

CSR Story
“There is more personal involvement of the students, teachers, parents and the communities themselves in actively protecting their environment…..”
Community collection in Felicity Community collection in Edinburgh, Chaguanas

“The adjustment to the programme is meant to deliver more tangible and farreaching benefits to the environment, by educating persons involved of the harmful impact to the natural environment and human health arising out of the improper disposal of plastic waste. Through the plasti-thon, there is more direct and personal involvement of the students, teachers, parents and the communities themselves, in actively protecting their environment,” Charles Percy, Managing Director & President, Methanex Trinidad Limited said as he explained the redefined focus for the second edition of the Eco-Heroes initiative.

Piloted as a walkathon in 2009, the Methanex Eco-Heroes initiative partnered with 22 primary schools, raising TT$500,000 between 2009 and 2012. These funds were used for the improvement of the physical environment of each school and featured projects like classroom libraries, play parks, outdoor classrooms and walkway canopies.

Stirred by the positive response of participating schools, and the sheer enthusiasm demonstrated by the students, Percy said that Methanex is currently exploring partnerships with several agencies to sustain the proper disposal of plastic bottles.

“Sustaining the transportation of plastics to a recycler beyond the plastithon period is a significant challenge, said Deborah Samaru, Manager of Public Affairs at Methanex in Trinidad. “Currently, we are paying a recycling company to collect from our 2014 schools (8 schools) for one year with at least two collections each month. As we add eight schools annually, these costs will escalate. We believe the ‘transportation’ funds could better be used by schools to advance their literacy initiatives.” Methanex is exploring partnership opportunities to facilitate this aspect in order to assure sustainability of their environmental care initiative.

The company’s agility in evolving Eco-Heroes from a Walkathon to a Plasti-thon is particularly significant as it:

• Allows children to lead a change in behaviour at home and in their schools. Plastic collection was done through the schools as well as field trips which led to increased community involvement;

• Encompasses an education caravan, visiting each participating school to educate students and teachers on waste segregation, plastic recycling and re-purposing of non-biodegradable products;

• Fosters teamwork since schools were paired for field trips;

• Encourages creative thinking as some of the larger plastic bottles were used as upside-down tomato planters in one school’s agriculture programme.

Eco Bin at Balmain Presbyterian School Sorting bottles at A.S.J.A. Primary School

Good Food - Good Life

Nestlé Trinidad’s commitment to healthy nutrition brings global standards to its drinks products

Nestlé has been named the number one consumer food products company for the tenth year running in Fortune magazine’s annual survey of the top 50 ‘World’s Most Admired’ companies. In one of the most significant industry decisions of the year, the company has moved to improve the quality of life for animals used in food production by adopting animal welfare standards affecting 7,300 of its suppliers worldwide.

The company, which ranked 32nd overall, achieved an overall score of 8.10, receiving the top score in every category rated, including innovation, people management, social responsibility, quality of management, quality of products and services, and global competitiveness.

In separate surveys Nestlé also ranks top quartile among the World’s Most Attractive Employers by global employer branding group Universum, and remains in the top 50 Most Innovative Companies in the World in the annual survey by Bloomberg Business Week.

In Trinidad and Tobago Nestlé is also leading the way in bringing global standards and practices to food production and packaging by applying world standards to how it prepares and presents products for the local market. The company’s commitment to ethical advertising and marketing demands transparency and accuracy in labelling to help consumers make the best nutritional choices.

This year as part of its healthy lifestyles advocacy, Nestlé has moved to reformulate its juice and milk products to meet stringent guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO). Nestlé Trinidad & Tobago is already considerably

invested in health education within the school system to build awareness and to foster healthy habits from the formative years. A three-year teaching component approved by the Ministry of Education has been integrated into the primary school curriculum in 8 schools. The initiative is therefore a natural extension of its programme for preventative care and early intervention in critical lifestyle diseases.

Diet and Health in Children

On April 25th this year, Health Minister Dr. Fuad Khan held a family day urging people to focus on getting “Fit not Fat’. Minister Fuad Khan says the increase in obesity was the result of poor eating habits. His Ministry has maintained a close focus on health and well-being through a regime of exercise and healthy eating. Trinidad and Tobago has earned the title of the sixth fattest developed country in the

Nestlé also ranks top quartile among the World’s Most Attractive Employers by global employer branding group Universum, and remains in the top 50 Most Innovative Companies in the World

world (per capita) in the 2015 report from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization at 30% of obesity among adults. The government has been partnering with a number of groups and corporate entities to build awareness and foster healthy lifestyles. Among those are Nestlé Trinidad and Tobago Ltd.

8 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 CSR Story
Free health checks

In a 2012 article by journalist Melissa Doughty in the Trinidad Guardian Newspapers, some “25% of a quarter of school-age children are cited as being overweight or obese”. The data shows that obesity was a major contributor to the rise of chronic non-communicable diseases in the country. Trinidad and Tobago, at 60%, has the highest overall percentage of deaths due to CNCDs within the Caribbean region. Of major concern is the increase in Juvenile Diabetes and Hypertension, leading to the onset of Cardiovascular diseases, Cancer, Diabetes and strokes in later life. According to the WHO childhood Obesity is associated with a higher chance of premature death and disability in adulthood. Overweight and obese children are more likely to stay obese into adulthood and to develop non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like Diabetes and Cardiovascular diseases at a younger age. Health and lifestyle education is important in the quest to reverse these trends.

Incentivising Healthy Consumption

Although the cost of eating healthy in the Caribbean is comparatively low compared to some of the more developed countries, many children are failing the healthy-eating test because of a preference for processed foods. Despite the prolific availability of seasonal fruits like oranges, mangoes, pawpaws, pineapples, plums and bananas, many school-age children hardly ever have a serving of fruit in their day’s food intake. In addition to dark green and leafy vegetables, the Mayo Clinic recommends that children be encouraged to consume fresh fruit or 100% fruit juice daily as part of a balanced diet.

According to research at the Mayo Clinic, portion size of sugary drinks have risen dramatically over the last 40 years – almost doubling from a 6.5 ounce can to 12 ounce bottles in recent times. Improvements in earnings and household income have also contributed to the increase in consumption of sugary drinks and fast foods.

In a US study of 548 ethnically diverse schoolchildren from public schools in four Massachusetts communities, researchers examined the association between baseline and change in consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks (the independent variables), and difference in measures of obesity. The findings revealed that for each additional serving of sugar-sweetened drink consumed, both body mass index (BMI) and frequency of obesity increased after adjustment for anthropometric, demographic, dietary, and lifestyle variables. Baseline consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks was also independently associated with change in BMI for each daily serving, thereby determining the consumption of sugarsweetened drinks is associated with obesity in children.

As part of its stated commitment to constantly improve the nutritional profile of its products, Nestlé has been reducing sugar in many products, especially children’s products, for years.

Aerobic warm up session

Between 2000 and 2013 Nestlé reduced the amount of table sugar in its products by 32%. The company then committed to reducing the sugar content in all servings of children’s or teenagers’ breakfast cereal brands to 9 g or less per serving, to promote a reduction in sugar in children’s diets. The reformulation of its juices in the Trinidad and Tobago market, satisfies this objective.

Getting Nutrition Right

At Nestlé, portion sizes are designed in accordance with the best health standards. All of Nestlé’s product development, formulas and even packaging are backed by research. With a research team of over 5,000 people at 34 facilities, the company can boast of the largest R&D network of any food company in the world, comprising a number of skills-sets including scientists, Engineers, Nutritionists, Designers, regulatory specialists and consumer care representatives. The company says that “safety and quality are non-negotiable”.

In support of the most recent WHO guidelines, the company supports the recommendation that the “intake of free sugars should not exceed 10% of total energy intake” – for both children and adults.

Country Manager, Michel Beneventi explains that in the reformulation of its juice drinks, the beverage line now contains less sugar and each serving is well below the Daily Allowance of calories. Of particular importance are the 250 ml packs of juice and milk which are popular among school-age children and are standard fare for lunch-kits. Over the last 10 years, the Swiss-based company

has reduced the overall sugar content of its products, globally, by more than 30 percent. With the family in mind, the ORCHARD range of juices and drinks deliver options with no added sugar in 1 litre and now its 250 ml beverages with standardised servings clearly marked to show contents, nutritional values and the approved daily allowances. The sugar content of the popular 250 ml Orchard packs has been reduced by 33-40 percent, the Orange and Apple blends have been reduced to just 85 calories per serving, and Fruit Punch blend has been reduced to just 98 calories. Recent taste tests prove that the new formula is just as popular with consumers.

A 250ml pack of juice drink contains as little as 5 - 7% of the calorie intake indicated by the GDA. Unlike many juices on the market, the Nestlé juices contain no high fructose corn syrup and no artificial sweeteners which can add sugar and calories. In fact some flavours provide added nutritional benefits such as anti-oxidants.

By 2016 the company aims to further reduce sugar content by 10% in products that do not meet the Nestlé Nutritional Foundation criteria, to ensure continual improvement in all areas of its product portfolio. This will include reducing the sugar content to 9 g total sugars or less per serving (30 g) in Nestlé breakfast cereal brands that have not yet been reformulated such as: Nesquik, Honey Cheerios and Milo. The renovation will also include reductions in salt, increases in whole grain and improvements in Calcium on a brand-by-brand basis.

10 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015

Community Regeneration to Save the Next Generation

“There is increasing evidence that a tripartite collaboration is the most sensible way to address the issues of growth, development and sustainability.”

So says Leslie Bowrin, Head of Social Performance at BGTT. This collective responsibility must be shared by business, government and the communities they serve.

The company’s philosophical approach to corporate social responsibility is based upon partnership and cooperation – a key component being that of community-based resources. The company is focussed on building capacity and developing capability at source to ensure that delivery systems are entrenched and that interventions have a real chance of generating change.

BGTT recognises that the solutions to safe and secure communities are complex and require a more clinical and analytical CSR programme than the traditional single-projects and hand-outs. What is needed on the ground are ‘gate-keepers’ who live and work in communities and who have a vested interest in their viability.

BGTT’s programmes have been delivering positive and sustainable changes in a number of communities throughout Trinidad and Tobago – not just in its fence-line areas where it operates but also in some of the hotspots identified by the Ministry of National Security.

The company does the research, helps with the design of programmes, funds training and supports the community representatives on the ground who are marshalling and monitoring the systems.

They ensure that the programmes overall are working effectively.

There are some principles that are deeply rooted in BGTT’s interventions. One of those is that change begins with the family and that families in turn impact communities. In this regard, the In-Reach Re-engineering Parenting Programme has been a defining project for the company and the platform from which it continues to broaden its reach.

Another fundamental principle is that a strong educational foundation presents positive options for those trapped in difficult circumstances.

In 2012, the Gatekeepers programme in St. Mary’s and Barrackpore in the SouthEast region of Trinidad, fostered collective accountability at the community level by focusing on men as agents of change. The programme unearthed some deeply rooted challenges that needed to be addressed for lasting change to be effected. That success led to other community led programmes.

In 2013 BGTT intervened at a psychosocial level setting up parenting and gatekeeping projects at Moruga and a parenting programme in Barrackpore. (This was featured in the last edition of the T&T CSR Review).

2014 marked the third year in a phased plan in the Morvant, Beetham, Laventille areas. BGT&T’s commitment to addressing safe and secure communities has led to this particular intervention which, though not in its catchment area, is a primary focus at a national level.

12 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015
CSR Story
How BGTT is using data and research to inform evidence-based interventions for long-term solutions in high-risk communitues
“The task is multifaceted and the accountability for change a shared responsibility…A key aim is to arrest the trends of youth delinquency based on our data which shows a correlation between education and incarceration.”
Staff of Therapy Works conducting behavioural modification sessions with students of the BG sponsored Beetham Homework Centre

Over the past three years, a concurrent set of interventions has been developed for the MLI-Beetham area where figures are higher than many of the other high-risk areas. The ‘Beetham Gardens Regeneration Project’ has a 21-year trajectory to save the next generation through the efforts of those who live there now.

The programme design is fact-based using data gathered over six months of research, along with continuous feedback and input from community activists and NGOs. Metrics have been set for measureable improvement with KPIs to indicate targeted progress rates.

The project is delivered within the community construct and existing school system, bridging across the primary and secondary schools to ensure continuous reach from five to sixteen years old. The approach is tripartite, galvanising resources from government, its agencies, the community, as well as businesses, to optimise results.

The project is a continuum of BGTT’s human development agenda which addresses skills and capacity training, mentoring, enterprise and livelihood for social transformation and aims to provide options that diminish the pull of the gangs and foster employment through a series of initiatives that improve infrastructure and social services, and leverage education, sports and the arts as a means of refocussing youth away from the pervasive culture of violence and gangs.

In Erika Johnson’s article titled ‘Gangs are the New Urban Law in Trinidad &Tobago’ (2013), she says that gangs “have become so institutionalized that they pose a threat to—and even control in some cases—the republic’s crucial infrastructures.” She adds, “…all forms of gangs in Trinidad are more pervasive than those to be found in developed nations and have now become societal institutions that go beyond social purposes, and are coming to resemble governments in and of themselves.”1

1 Erika Johnson


UWI St. Augustine in a 2011 call for papers, defined the term gangs in two ways. “One gang is more organized in nature and its membership is involved in drug trafficking, money laundering and gun running.” The second category, relates to small groups that have emerged in small urban communities… that are characterized as shanty towns where people have little access to education and adequate social services and are forced to live in precarious housing conditions. It is suggested that such areas have overtime become abandoned by the local authorities, and a power vacuum is created which is filled by “local gangs, or vigilante groups.”

According to the World Bank’s January 2015 Global Economic Report (as cited in a recent article by David Gagne), with homicide rates three times higher than the global average, “violence is one of the principal risks to economic growth” in the Caribbean. The finding “underscores organized crime’s potential to impact more than just security in the region… an increase in violence would discourage investment and slow the region’s economic growth.”

BGTT sees the task as multifaceted and the accountability for change, a shared responsibility.

T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 13
Pan tutor Mickiel Gabriel demonstrates the use of software Pete the Pan Stick, developed by Sanch Electronics to a class at Success Laventille Secondary School BG staff participate in music therapy session at the Beetham Homework Centre gangs-are-the-new-law-in-urban-trinidad-tobago?highlight= WyJ0cmluaWRhZCIsInRyaW5pZGFkJ3MiLCJ0b2JhZ28iLC

Bowrin explains, “A key aim is to arrest the trends of youth delinquency based on our data which shows a correlation between education and incarceration.” Of concern has been the quality of education delivery and the lack of discipline that is pervasive in schools in the catchment area.

Using the school system, a number of programmes are being introduced for a more robust and relevant education curriculum. Components of the multipronged approach are:

• Pan in Education (PIE)

• Pan in Schools

• Pan Fabrication

• Home-Work Centre with individually tailored programmes; supported by psychological assessments and recommendations to meet specific needs

• Creative outlets for expression – i.e. art and music therapy

• Field Trips and Excursions

• Nature/Nurture which addresses boys and girls whose relatives were murdered

Bowrin explains that BGTT is not alone in driving the change. Other energy companies and services are coalesced in this vision for change. BGTT, bpTT and Atlantic in partnership with Dolly and Associates, Powell House Publishing Company, members of the Defence Force, Citizen Security Programme (CSP) and other key stakeholders are implementing the Nature/Nurture programme in the West in Patna, Covigne Road and Petit Valley. The Nature/Nurture Programme is comprehensive in its concept. Currently there are eight institutions

along the education chain benefitting from the programme – one (1) early childhood centre, six (6) primary schools and one (1) secondary school. There are three integrated programmes which are helping to heal and rehabilitate victims.

These are:

• Diagnostics and counselling programmes (including PTSD) and residential camps (with 24-hour counselling and monitoring)

• Mentorship programmes

• A trauma centre for year-round counselling support for affected families (preventative and rehabilitative)

Bowrin says that the success they have had has been largely due to “the ability to draw from multiple resources.” For business, the ability to deliver through community agents has given them a chance to reach deeply into communities in ways not previously possible. For the community, corporate oversight has created avenues of transparency through systemic monitoring and reporting mechanisms. For government, the approach provides an avenue to deliver much needed social services that were being blocked through community constructs aimed at creating instability and drawing youth to negative lifestyle choices.

Standard One students of Bethlehem Boys RC School participate in the Hopalong web based literacy programme implemented by Powell House Publishing

Students perform for BGT&T visitors

S.C.G. (Caribbean) Group Ltd is a subsidiary of Chinese state-owned company - Shanghai Construction Group, registered locally with responsibility for the parent company’s business in the Caribbean and Latin American. The company provides general contractor and integrated services to a range of mid-sized, large and mega projects in the region.

Headquartered in Trinidad and Tobago, over the past decade S.C.G. Caribbean has completed twelve different projects for a number of clients and end-users, continuously delivering the highest levels of satisfaction. The company has distinguished itself through delivering high quality and innovative building solutions on-time and within-budget; with world-class levels of reliability and a deep commitment to safety.

At an average of 40% local content of contract value, over the years, S.C.G. Caribbean has established long-term partnerships with a number of local professionals, suppliers and subcontractors that have brought tremendous value to development for both the company and the industry. It’s a win-win business model – delivering innovative, high quality construction solutions to support the economic, cultural and sporting well-being of Trinidad and Tobago and the wider region.

S.C.G. (Caribbean) Building a foundation for the future. Together. Stronger.

Republic Bank’s Inclusive Social Investment

How the Bank’s CSR programmes are making a positive difference

In its quest to ‘make a positive difference’ in the lives of our people, Republic Bank, one of the largest, longest operating and most successful indigenous banks in the English-speaking Caribbean, continues to support social programmes that promote practical approaches to meaningful and lifelong change.

Built on four pillars: the Power to Care, the Power to Help, the Power to Learn and the Power to Succeed, the ‘Power to Make a Difference’ programme focuses on three specific areas namely, the development of young people through education, sport and the arts; poverty alleviation through training programmes for at-risk youth and the provision of facilities for elderly community members, helping differently-abled persons and groups find their place in the world by providing training and physical facilities, to help them become more self-sufficient and effectively contribute to society.

Expanding investment

The Power to Make a Difference was introduced in 2004 with an investment of $52 million in social programmes in Trinidad and Tobago, over a four-year period. The second phase, over 20092014, saw a doubling of Republic Bank’s social investment to $100 million. In its 2014-2019 phase, the Bank continues its work with an additional $100 million investment.

The Power to Make a Difference Programme has also been introduced in other countries where Republic Bank has operations, including Grenada, Guyana and Barbados, with a similar focus on youth development, poverty alleviation, and helping the differently-abled.

Combating illiteracy

During the 2014-2019 phase, Republic Bank has decided to pay specific attention to the area of illiteracy across the region. One of the major initiatives being undertaken is the partnership with the Trinidad & Tobago National Commission for UNESCO and its ‘Leading for Literacy Now!’ project. The programme will be rolled out in 40 primary schools each year and aims to improve the reading standards and numeracy skills of the infant population in schools.

“The biggest thing we have discovered is that illiteracy is prevalent across all generations, so everyone needs to be taken into account. UNESCO is addressing illiteracy at the entry level and is getting buy-in from principals and teachers, ensuring that they are committed to taking a firm hold on it and breaking the cycle,” said Nadia Williams, Social Investment Officer, Republic Bank. Another essential component of the programme, is the “Parenting

for Literacy” segment. Through its partnership with the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission, the Commission has created the parenting programme, which will help parents to create an environment conducive to learning in their homes.

“It gives parents the tools and techniques where they can engage their children in conversation and open up communication lines. The programme takes parents through every step. It helps with listening to your children, understanding the motor skills of your child at a certain age. It encourages parents to engage with children whether driving or walking to school, and it encourages children to talk and express themselves,” added Williams. Under the literacy programme, parents will also attend sessions on anger management and conflict resolution.

The Bank will also continue its longstanding support of programmes with the Adult Literacy Tutors Association,

16 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 CSR Story

Butler Institute of Learning & Labour, Cotton Tree Foundation and many others. Alongside the school literacy programme, all social programmes supported by Republic Bank will have a literacy component.

The SickKids Foundation

Another major programme for Republic Bank in the latest phase is its $5.3 million, four-year support to the Canadian Hospital for Sick Children to assist in the treatment of children with Sickle Cell, across the Caribbean. The SickKids Caribbean initiative is managed by the SickKids Foundation. This Foundation is the largest funder of child health research, learning and care in Canada. One of the main goals of the SickKids Caribbean Initiative is to implement universal newborn screening for sickle cell disease in six Caribbean countries.

At the launch of the initiative in February, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Colin Furlonge noted that sickle cell trait is very common in the Caribbean, with an estimated ten per cent prevalence rate in Afro-Trinidadians.

Through the partnership with the Hopsital for Sick Kids, the SickKids Foundation and the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, the Bank’s funding will allow for the increased capacity building in the area of Sickle Cell Disease.

Habitat partnership to educate

Still on the literacy trend, Republic Bank’s support for Habitat for Humanity programme also carries a financial education component on managing funds. Now in its third year running with an annual investment of $1 million, the Habitat for Humanity programme seeks to bring relief to socially marginalised and poverty stricken families.

“When you hear the stories, it puts a lot of things in perspective from where people live, to the circumstances under which they live; and if you don’t intervene, the cycle continues from one generation to the next,” remarked Williams.

She spoke about one family in Valencia that had to separate because it was difficult to continue living together

in their small and dilapidated house. “They had to choose between good living conditions and going to school... they chose education, and the daughter went on to study law. When the family got into their new house under the Habitat for Humanity programme, they were back together under one roof. What is amazing is that the mother volunteered for all the building projects at her neighbours’ homes and never once asked for a house to be built, but she got hers. Everyone else lived in the same conditions as her family, but it is things like this… (the compassion and the sacrifice) that keep us going.”

Through the partnership with the Hopsital for Sick Kids, the SickKids Foundation and the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, the Bank’s funding will allow for the increased capacity building in the area of Sickle Cell Disease.

T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 17


Leveraging CSR to improve safety for operations and communities in T&T

NGC Steps to CAER at a glance

In schools:

• Conduct safety assessments of the buildings and grounds;

• Prepare an Emergency Response Plan;

• Practice emergency drills;

• Supply safety signage and equipment as necessary;

• Conduct teacher training workshops.

In Regional Corporations:

• Schedule meetings with relevant representatives;

• Ensure awareness of natural gas and emergency response;

• Create CERT teams;

• Conduct tabletop exercises

In Communities:

• Ensure awareness of natural gas and emergency response;

• Create CERT teams (these may overlap with Regional Corporations)

• Provide kits, training, lectures as needed

• Conduct tabletop exercises

NGC – Who we are and What we do Established by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago in August 1975, NGC has been the central player in Trinidad and Tobago’s natural gas industry for 40 years. Over this period, the company has created a diversified and high quality portfolio of hydrocarbon-based assets and capability that has enabled the country’s impressive world scale gasbased industrial sector. Today, NGC is a fully integrated energy company with US$7bn in assets, which makes it one of the largest companies in the Caribbean and Latin America when measured by assets. The Group registered profits of TT $9.7 bn in 2013.

NGC’s business activities comprise: the purchase, transportation, distribution and sale of natural gas; offshore compression; and the engineering, construction and maintenance of gas

pipeline infrastructure. The Company has also diversified into NGLs processing and marketing; port infrastructure development and services; industrial estate development and management; investment in Upstream Oil and Gas Exploration and Production, LNG shipping and marketing and CNG vehicular fuel promotion and facilitation.

NGC’s customers are the power generation, petrochemical and iron and steel plants located at the Point Lisas Industrial Estate, and a wide range of light manufacturing and commercial enterprises located throughout the country.

Corporate Social Investment

As a good corporate citizen, NGC has committed itself to investing in Corporate Social Responsibility programmes which build or enhance stakeholder value.

18 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015
CSR Story
CAER 2012

This commitment is shaped by the view that the company has a responsibility to enable both the economic development of the country as well as the cultural, sporting and community aspirations of our people. For NGC, ‘Corporate Social Investment’ (CSI) is defined as any voluntary activity – in cash or in kind –beyond commercial and legal obligations, that contributes to the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the communities in which it operates.

In keeping with this definition, NGC’s CSI portfolio has been designed to support a wide variety of communities. This support ranges from developing programmes to sponsoring the initiatives of non-governmental and communitybased organizations through grants and contributions.

The CSI programme is guided by three main themes:

• The first theme is Sport where many of the programmes are geared towards supporting athletes at the national, regional and international level;

• The second is Civic Life which encompasses programmes that enrich life;

• The third theme is Empowerment where programmes are designed to promote social and economic development that helps people help themselves.

The company also seeks to ensure that it delivers its business safely and in a responsible manner. In that regard, NGC regularly tests and updates its emergency response plans to be emergency ready.

Under the theme of Civic Life:

The Community Awareness and Emergency Response (CAER) Programme

Because of the importance of the natural gas-based industry to the economy of Trinidad and Tobago, our community awareness programmes focus on natural gas education with an emphasis on safety and the environment.

In schools and communities located near NGC operations, community members are encouraged to become informed about natural gas and gas safety. In 2006, the Community Awareness Emergency Response (CAER) programme was developed around the theme “How to be safe and smart with natural gas.” The primary targets were schools (primary and secondary) where NGC performed assessments and awareness training.

The CAER programme focuses on building natural gas awareness and knowledge about safely living near natural gas installations and how to respond in the event of a natural gas leakage or natural emergency. The programme includes the provision of mitigation measures and response techniques using drills, supplying of safety equipment, and carrying out teacher workshops in Firefighting, First Aid and CPR.

CAER in Schools adjoining natural gas infrastructure

In CAER schools, the process happens in two phases. In Phase I, the NGC CAER team visits the schools and assesses them in terms of emergency preparedness. The team looks at current procedures, muster points and available safety equipment. The team then advises the school on ways in which its entire emergency response plan can be improved.

T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 19
CAER primary school drill CAER secondary school drill
The company has a responsibility to enable both the economic development of the country as well as the cultural, sporting and community aspirations of our people.

Once this is done, the school is given sufficient time to implement the CAER suggestions before Phase II.

In Phase II, the NGC CAER team initiates an emergency drill and grades the schools on their level of readiness for an emergency. The team then gives feedback to the principal and staff about what worked or did not work, and provides the school with some of the equipment necessary to make the school’s safety programme a success.

Under the theme of Empowerment:

CAER in the Communities adjoining natural gas infrastructure Within communities, the Company organises meetings and facilitates emergency response programmes and workshops for community groups and Regional Corporations.

Citizens in communities who become CERT (Community Emergency Response Trained) volunteers are equipped with skills and tools to respond to any emergency, be they national crises and disasters, or natural gas- related emergencies.

Specifically, CERT training informs and empowers volunteers by applying a systematic process:

• Identify and mitigate potential hazards in the home and workplace;

• Initiate plans to prepare for the hazards;

• Learn skills to help loved ones and neighbours, or fellow employees, until professional response resources arrive.

CERT in communities, links Regional Corporations with residents so that there are cross-functional teams to act as first responders in any natural or manmade emergency, including a natural

gas emergency. It is a plus for NGC to have citizens on the ground who are knowledgeable and ready to assist in the event of an unforeseen incident.

20 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015
CERT training CAER equipment handover CAER training

Investing Where it Matters Most PPGPL provides support to community and country

Not very much is known publicly about the corporate social responsibility thrust of Point Lisas-based Phoenix Park Gas Processors Limited (PPGPL), but the company has been quietly investing and supporting projects in its fence-line and pipeline communities and on a national scale.

One of the long standing projects falling under the fence-line category (the community in which PPGPL is located) is the Phoenix Park Government Primary school which has a student population of 219. Annually, PPGPL awards a bursary to a student who completed the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) and who prior to the exam, demonstrated excellence in academics as well as extracurricular activities.

“We’re looking for the child who succeeds academically, but who also demonstrates the ability to contribute to other aspects of school life. We want to illustrate that it’s not only about being bright. We don’t want people who just excel academically, but people who can contribute to different areas in society,” said Elsa Lara-Joseph, Team Lead Public Relations, PPGPL. The company is also considering extending the bursary to other students of the school who have shown overall excellence.

Although PPGPL has been assisting the school over the past 20 years in providing for some of its needs, it was agreed in the last decade that support will be structured and sustainable on a long term basis. For instance, a multifunctional copier/printer was replaced at the school; on another occasion, an intercom was installed providing for improved communication

between the security and principal’s office and yet in another year, a covered waiting area for parents was constructed.

In 2015, PPGPL is assisting the school with its literacy challenge and 30 children will benefit from this initiative. As a member of the CSR Committee of the Energy Chamber, Lara-Joseph became acquainted with the ARROW Foundation which is based on a model to enhance literacy among children by using technology.

“Tutors from the Arrow Foundation enter the sponsored school and deliver the curriculum using the technology to enhance literacy. They offer different packages which include the training of teachers to ensure continuity and as the sponsor and recipient, you can select which programme will work best for an institution ” she said.

In their pipeline community where PPGPL’s 34 mile pipeline runs from Point Fortin to Pt Lisas, the company undertakes assessments with established community groups to understand their needs.

“We get from them an understanding of their issues and the solutions that they can identify for their communities. We guide them through the process, they brain storm, they prioritise their needs and based on the reports generated, we develop projects with them,” said LaraJoseph. Currently, PPGPL is developing a framework for a parenting programme in some of its pipeline communities.

Under its national CSR programme, PPGPL delivers its signature Gift to the Nation project which is aligned to the company’s safety performance.

Started in 1997, a national project is selected whenever PPGPL achieves 12 consecutive months without a lost time incident. Employees are involved in this by contributing project ideas, and sometimes assist in implementation.

The company has given a blood unit to Friends of the Blood Bank, collaborated with NGC and NLCB to refurbish the Families in Action building on Maraval road in Port of Spain, undertook a ‘walk alert’ with primary school students and donated a blood analyser.

The company electrified the busy Rivulet Road in Couva, built Casa de Corazon, a home for children in Sangre Grande and invested $1.5 million in 20 homes for under-privileged families in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. In 2007, the PPGPL Board agreed to three projects: refurbishment of the New Life Ministries in collaboration with Petrotrin and NGC; the National Centre for Persons with Disabilities where PPGPL constructed a wheel chair block, and provided a 30-seat bus for the Trinidad and Tobago Association for Retired Persons (TTARP) to transport the elderly to activities’ centres and other places of interest.

In 2008, PPGPL undertook an assessment of each child at the Couva Children’s Home and Crisis Nursery. “The children, many of whom come from broken homes were in need of psychological, emotional and cognitive assessment. We paid to have professional assessment done on every child which resulted in interventions to deal with their individual needs. We have seen improvements in our children,” said

22 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 CSR Story

PPGPL has also developed creative ways to provide funds for worthwhile causes.

One such idea came from the former president Eugene Tiah whom, five years ago, requested a transparent glass box to be located in the main meeting room where employees were encouraged to deposit their small change. At the end of the year, the company matched the total funds collected which were counted by the children of the two Homes. Each

year the money is donated to either the Casa de Corazon Children’s home or the Couva’s Children’s Home and Crisis Nursery to pay for extra lessons for the young residents.

Employees are not left out from the generous support of the company, as a special grant was set up to cater for employees’ children who excel in nonacademic pursuits. Employees also apply for this one-off grant to assist their children in their chosen field, once they have reached the level of excellence at the national level.

T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 23
“We’re looking for the child who succeeds academically, but who also demonstrates the ability to contribute to other aspects of school life. We want to illustrate that it’s not only about being bright… but people who can contribute to different areas in society.”
Lara-Joseph who represents PPGPL on the Board of the Home.

With Petrotrin there are no Losers Supporting prison reform through music

For most people, having a roll of toilet paper, a tube of toothpaste or deodorant might be regarded as just an everyday commodity but for inmates at the nation’s prisons, it’s a luxury item and worth more to them than a shiny goldchromed or silver plated trophy in their small, enclosed space.

It was this precious value of toiletries to prisoners that led state-owned integrated energy company, Petrotrin, to begin hamper distribution over the last 24 years to all entrants in the country’s nine prisons participating in the annual calypso competition.

It started when contestants at the 1990 annual calypso competition at the Carrera prison complained that the trophies they received as prizes were turning to rust.

“These guys in Carrera are there for five years and more, so they said that it’s better if we arrange toiletries for them instead, and that’s how it started. All contestants have been getting hampers of toiletries. With Petrotrin there are no losers,” quipped former national footballer Clayton Morris who has been driving the company’s support for the inmates participating in the calypso competitions and aid in the general transformation of prison inmates.

Morris, who was responsible for Petrotrin’s inter-departmental activities for several years, recalled that his involvement in the prisons came in 1990 when public support for the Strike Squad football team of which he was part was overwhelming.

Petrotrin’s Head – Corporate Social Responsibility, George Comissiong said

at the time, the popularity of the football team was at an all-time high. “Here we were using sportsmen in a cultural context to aid in prison rehabilitation,” he remarked.

Morris attended his first calypso competition at one of the prisons when he was asked to assist in taking along trophies and was amazed to see inmates playing their rhythms on pig tail buckets. During the intermission, he was taken on a tour which included a store room where inmates kept their ‘music equipment’ created from discarded tins and buckets. Later on, through Morris’ initiative, a popular music store provided a drum set to one of the prisons.

Morris who is now a coach at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) and maintains his relationship with Petrotrin and their support for inmates, said the annual calypso competitions at the prisons are important aspects in the lives of incarcerated men and women. “When these events come about, they see a need to live another way. They have to compose songs, read and write... prison officers were helping them to read and write. Within the prison population, they have a lot of talent and prisoners help each other. They look forward to the competition and I think the hampers are incentives for them to get up on that stage and perform.

24 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 CSR Story
Calypso culture

They know at the end, win, lose or draw, they’re getting a personal hamper, full of toiletries,” he said. In 2015, Petrotrin distributed over 100 hampers to the nine prisons for their annual competitions.

He also acceded to another request by inmates for cricket equipment. It was an easy request to fulfil since Petrotrin, after its employees’ cricket competitions ended, always had dozens of used balls and bats which normally would be surplus to their needs. Now, they could be given to the inmates.

Morris said he looks forward to meeting with the inmates and talking with them. “When I go there, I have an opportunity to sit and talk with these guys. They would say that ‘we see you here, Mr. Morris, you coming and helping us and it makes us feel that people out there still care, despite what we are inside here for’.”

Some inmates who served their time in jail have been successful in getting involved in mainstream calypso competitions during the carnival season. One such ex—prisoner was among the top winners in the 2015 Young King’s competition while another sings at a calypso tent.

The support for inmates at the prisons during their calypso competition is a major programme under Petrotrin’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme which encompasses national and fence-line communities.

Petrotrin finds itself in a unique position since it inherited the CSR programmes supported by its predecessor companies including Trinmar, Trintoc and Trintopec in its fence-line communities, in addition to programmes and projects it supports nationally. “We inherited a lot of expectations,” added Comissiong.

But through its eight sports clubs it now had to manage, a quarter of the Strike Squad football team emerged. The country’s first Olympic goal medallist, Hasely Crawford was also an apprentice at one of the predecessor companies, Texaco and benefitted from the sport development programme.

Comissiong admits while considerable activity has been on-going at the sports clubs, the teams have not been as competitive as they were before.

“With eight clubs, one company can’t devote the same kind of resources that individual companies gave in the past” he said.

In keeping with Petrotrin’s commitment to sport and youth development, the Company has been promoting women’s football though a 10-week coaching development programme that feeds into national football; 2015 will be the third consecutive year of this programme. The current national women’s team was also hosted by Petrotrin for two weeks at its Beach Camp facility before they went on their international circuit in 2014. Petrotrin also contributed $75,000 towards their preparation.

Additionally, Petrotrin invites secondary schools in the company’s fence-line areas to send students to the clubs twice a week to increase their football skills which assist school teams in their football league.

Steelband Sponsorship accounts for the major part of the Company’s investment in culture at the national level. The company fully sponsors four steel bands and assists another 14, all the way up to Panorama.

“There’s a direct nexus between our operations and the national instrument and it’s the best example of recycling the discarded oil drums. We bought into the statistics by Pan Trinbago that each steel

Supporting women in sports
T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 25

band would have at a minimum of 100 participants involved in the band over the carnival period and that’s the lower level...maybe 200 with the larger bands so with 18 steel bands, you’re looking at possibly 3,600 people involved in a useful activity for two months of the year,” said Comissiong.

In 2014, all four panorama champions were under the Petrotrin banner. In 2015, two bands placed first and another two, ran second.

The support does not end with Panorama as a development component is attached to the sponsorship of the bands. “Funding is set aside, separate and apart from what we spend for Panorama. The intent is to ensure there is development type work,” said Comissiong.

All sponsored bands must engage in literacy programmes to develop new players as one of their development initiatives. Petrotrin Katzenjammers in Tobago, for example, used their development funding one year to set up a licensed bar and a souvenir shop at its panyard. On many Fridays, the venue is packed with people including tourists who come to listen to music, purchase souvenirs and jerseys or enjoy a drink.

Petrotrin’s sponsored groups:

• Petrotrin Phase II – 2014 Panorama Champions

• Petrotrin Katzenjammers

• Petrotrin Hatters

• Petrotrin Siparia Deltones

• Petrotrin Boodoosingh Tassa Group

• Petrotrin Rangeela Classical Indian Orchestra

• Petrotrin Levantamiento Parang Group

• Voices of Petrotrin Choir

• Trinmar Point Fortin Community Chorale

• PetroJazz Basketball Team

• Petrotrin Cadet Corps

We bought into the statistics by Pan Trinbago that each steel band would have at a minimum of 100 participants involved in the band over the carnival period … so with 18 steel bands, you’re looking at possibly 3,600 people involved.

26 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015
Passionate on the pan
... ...

BPTT’s MIPED Story 12 Years of Community Transformation

In her position as bpTT’s Corporate Responsibility Manager with responsibility for CSR strategy design and execution, Ronda Francis has shaped and directed a series of programmes across Trinidad and Tobago which are focused on creating sustainable communities at both the local and national levels.

Perhaps the greatest impact Ms. Francis and her team have made so far is in Mayaro. Located in south-east Trinidad, fishermen still seek their fortunes in the rolling surf and farmers sow seeds for crops to feed their families and others. Alongside this, every major energy company in Trinidad and Tobago has set up shop in the fishing village at one time or another. The relationship between bpTT and Mayaro is one that has endured for 40 years. Even as markets and environments change, like the best of healthy relationships, both continue to grow and learn from each other.

“The energy sector is one of the main driving forces of the Trinidad and Tobago economy, accounting for about fiftyeight percent of government revenue,” Ms. Francis explains. “At the same time, the sector only accounts for about four percent of employment. Many of our programmes are focussed on building capacity in the Mayaro/Guayaguayare area.”

Ms. Francis and her team have played a critical role in transforming relations between the community and the company. As she recalls, “We (bpTT) felt that as host to our operations, there was a need to work collaboratively with the Mayaro community to drive much needed change because many residents

were living in a highly impoverished state, not experiencing the trickle down of energy revenues that were derived just miles offshore. BP felt it was necessary to make an intervention in the community to help it become more sustainable.

“We embarked upon a rigorous programme of engagement to understand the mindset and needs of the community.” This structured engagement created an opportunity to share perspectives on priorities and to determine the best solutions to everyday problems.

Under the leadership of then CEO Robert Riley, the Mayaro Initiative for Private Enterprise Development (MIPED) was established. The intervention was introduced by Ken Gordon, first Chairman of MIPED and modified and implemented by then VP CEA Donna Ramsammy. It was adapted and further developed to meet community needs under Ashraph Ali, current Chairman of the Fund. The programme was a natural evolution of the Mayaro Steerng Committee a tripartite construct which the company had initiated, involving business, government agencies and community representatives. The aim was to create a more participatory approach to socioeconomic transformation and engender a spirit of self-reliance.

Founding members of The Mayaro Steering Committee Gregory Galera, Ester Noel and Matthew Pierre worked with the MIPED Board, and successive bpTT Heads of Communications and External Affairs such as Sheldon Daniel and currently Giselle Thompson, to advocate and galvanize support for the initiative.

The Mayaro Steering Committee represents 34 interest groups, and as Ms. Francis shares, the company has worked with each one to create viability and sustainability. She pushes hard for independent thought and action.

28 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 CSR Story
“We have given more than 4,000 loans and we have created more than 7,000 permanent and temporary jobs in the community because of MIPED.”
Ronda Francis

“People need to own the present to create a better future”’ she says. The groups now function very differently than they did just 10 years ago. Instead of coming into bpTT to ask how, the deliberations and solutions are far more self-driven.

Today MIPED is at the hub of bpTT’s thrust for sustainability in Mayaro. Ms. Francis explains, “MIPED was designed as a revolving fund and using the well-established model of India’s Grameen Bank, monies from the fund are distributed in the form of a loan. As residents repay their loans with interest, other residents could then benefit from the programme. So with an initial capital injection of US$1.2m from bpTT, MIPED started as a loans and not a grants programme as the community had initially visualised. It was a hard-sell initially as the community had for over 30 years come to rely on hand-outs. But as the programme gained momentum and participation quickly multiplied, the community saw the benefits, and were convinced that a loan rather than a grant, was far more beneficial to the community in fostering self-reliance.

“Today, the fund has become selfsustaining and has grown to US$10m and that is significant,” she declares with a deep sense of satisfaction. “We have given more than 4,000 loans and we have created more than 7,000 permanent and temporary jobs in the community because of MIPED”. The programme has played a critical role in revitalizing the fishing community in Mayaro. Ms. Francis says, “When we started out in the community there were about 125 boats. With the help of MIPED, that number has grown to over 350 boats. In some instances, entrepreneurial fishermen now own more than one boat and are employing others to work for them. This has had a significant positive impact on the livelihoods of the fishermen. There are many other excellent examples of how MIPED has impacted the lives of individuals and groups within the community for the better.”

The current MIPED Board is comprised of representatives from bpTT, members of the business community and academia, as well as people from the Mayaro community. The MIPED model is a proven example of sustainability and

how businesses and communities can cocreate a vision and foster positive change.

The process of actually accessing funds from MIPED is a simple one. After an application is made, a loans officer is assigned to an applicant. The application is assessed and goes through a number of steps to ensure that the applicant has every opportunity to succeed – inclusive of business planning advice and coaching on the compliance process. If successful, the candidate receives formal training in managing the business.

This collaborative approach has at its centre, the people of the Mayaro community. The programme has really been shaped by their needs and finding innovative ways to address those needs. Every year, the partnership finds new or different ways to improve living conditions and identify opportunities for strengthening the community.

In 2002, bpTT transformed and gave over its employee’s sports club to the community to create much needed space for a training and development centre. The Mayaro Resource Centre is a stateof-the-art, multi-purpose facility that houses the University of the West Indies

T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 29
MIPED - Evaluating the impact of flooding in short crop farming

Open Campus and Servol, and offers a mix of academic, vocational and sports training.

“Each and every one of the people who work there at the facility are just as passionate about the work that we do in the community as we are,” says Ms. Francis. “They work late hours, they meet regularly with the community, they respond promptly to issues, and they do so with sensitivity and respect…I think that’s what makes us a great team.”

Among the many programmes and projects at the Centre, bpTT has partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture and Land and Marine Resources to deliver a monthly schedule of various

training modules for farmers. Other training programmes include financial management, conflict resolution, proposal writing, social reporting, communications, marketing etc.

Internally, Ronda and the team at bpTT also undergo further training so that they can better serve the community. Some of those training programmes are about managing finances, record keeping, and writing reports. That knowledge is in turn passed on to their MIPED clients and this encourages them to stay with the programme.

The MIPED success story has spread far and wide. Ronda’s colleagues from BP in the United Kingdom, Angola, Brazil

and as far away as Azerbaijan have visited Trinidad to better understand MIPED. Others have documented the model for application in their own country with some adaptations for cultural or social relevance.

Says Ms. Francis, “Our social licence to operate is one of the most important things for BP. We have a great future here in Trinidad and Tobago because with our advances in seismic and drilling technology we expect to be able to do more exploration. We believe there are still a number of prospects in the Columbus Basin,” ”As we grow, we expect our own community and the wider Trinidad and Tobago to benefit.”

30 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015
Mayaro – Town Center market hub and main shopping areas
Over 20 years experience in international media relations and content generation. CARIBBEAN AGENCY Expert PR provides you with effective target marketing, accurate media placement and creates a positive image for your company, resulting in expanded business opportunities. #268 Harold Fraser Circle, Valsayn, Trinidad | (868) 645-0368/(868) 686-9797 | |

The UNICOMER Group (Trinidad) Committed to Comnunity

At the heart of many communities across the region is Unicomer. Most distinguished for its trade mark furniture and appliances stores, the brilliant yellow buildings with the red and blue stripes stand out in many Caribbean city centres, making technology, interior décor and comfort affordable to homemakers everywhere.

Unicomer acquired Courts Caribbean operations in 2006 bringing 113 of the popular furniture, electronics and appliances’ outlets under the umbrella of the Unicomer Group. In Trinidad and Tobago, the Group operates 21 Courts Stores including a Mega Store in El Socorro.

What is less known, is Unicomer’s deep commitment to the Caribbean with a social investment programme focussed on Health & Environment, Education and Community Development, and which aims to transform the lives of youth and children. At the helm of the Trinidad social investment programme is the Managing Director of Unicomer (Trinidad) Ltd; Mr. Errol le Blanc, Director of Human Capital, Mrs. Stacy Homer and the Director of Marketing, Ms. Shiva Ojah-Maharaj.

Community Development

Employees at Unicomer are very much involved in the decision making for CSR at the company, often identifying projects for funding and actively participating in a number of community activities. What’s also different at Unicomer is that employees actually invest personal funds in community programmes in addition to volunteering time and talent to causes they support.

Last year, employees set up a growbox and undertook landscaping at St. Dominic’s Children’s Home (Plainview) Arima. They also undertook repairs at the Cascade School for the Deaf, painted the Memissa Vocational Training Centre in the Heights of Guanapao in Arima, and also built an added dormitory for the Centre. The projects were funded in part by salary-deductions determined by employees.

In a programme titled ‘Share the Joy’, a percentage of annual profits goes towards children’s homes across the country. The programme is a collaboration between Unicomer and its suppliers and provides furniture, electronics and appliances to qualifying institutions. In 2014 alone, 19 such homes and some 370 children were beneficiaries of the programme. Unicomer worked with The United Way of Trinidad and Tobago to identify institutions that are in compliance with Group standards for safety. Among the 2014 recipients were Raffa House, Bridging the Gap. Bridge of Hope, Casa de Corazon, Couva Children’s

Home and Crisisi Nursery, Christ Child Convalescent Home, Sophia House, Ruah Transition, Aylward House Transitional, Amica House, Islamic Home for Children, Rainbow Rescue, Goshen House, Joshua Boys’ Home, Family First Foundation, Syl Phil Home in Love and Happy Haven School.

In February 2015 items were donated to furnish the Dental Waiting Room of the Princess Elizabeth Centre, which is a home for children with physical disabilities. The home provides education, treatment, training and rehabilitation for these children inclusive of physical therapy and dental services.

On June 30th, Unicomer made a monetary donation to assist the Foundation for the Enhancement and Enrichment of Life (FEEL) with meeting basic needs for the less fortunate. UTL also assisted FEEL with building up its disaster relief stock, which provides relief for victims of natural disasters in the country. FEEL is a registered charitable organization established in 1992. This umbrella Civil Society Organization (CSO) distributes foodstuff, clothing, shoes, hygiene, medical, household, school and disaster relief supplies to its CSO partners and individuals across Trinidad and Tobago.

In Trinidad and Tobago where the celebrated steelband is a central feature of national culture and the annual carnival festivities, Courts/Unicomer is also investing. As the main sponsor of the Courts Sound Specialists, the company continues to support the development of arts and culture through the promulgation of pan music.

32 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 CSR Story
COURTS All Sectors Netball Prize Distribution Function, March 30, 2015

Health and Well-Being

An Emergency Fund is allocated for natural disasters and provides relief at the national level to victims of fire, flood and hurricanes. In 2014, the company contributed water, food items, toiletries and linens to flood victims in Diego Martin and Petit Valley. Employees personally packed and delivered these items during one of their monthly drives. The company’s Gold Account customers even had the rest of their payments cancelled as part of the Courts policy and Unicomer’s commitment to fair trade.

The Diabetes Association also partnered with Unicomer to provide Blood Pressure and Blood Glucose screening for our staff for the second year for our Employee Wellness Fair held from July 22 -24, 2014. On July 23, 2014, Unicomer made a monetary donation to the Diabetes Association of Trinidad and Tobago to cover the cost of Care Providers and Monitoring Equipment for their Annual Residential Camp for Children with Diabetes.

As a supplier of fitness equipment, Unicomer markets a wide range of health and fitness products through its Courts stores. The Mega Store hosted a fitness drive encouraging sports’ enthusiasts to test equipment and get nutritional information from food and nutrition experts on site. Customers were also treated to nutritional drinks and smoothies that were prepared on site.


Unicomer’s unique education programme brings benefits both to the public and to employees. The children of employees who have more than 2 years of service, are encouraged to stay in school and to maintain a top-quartile average. As long as students maintain a 70%-plus average, demonstrate good conduct and are engaged in extra-curricular activities, they receive an annual grant of TT $3250 to $6500. Students who qualify must be between the ages of 5 and 18 and can receive a grant from primary school up until the time of graduation once they meet the criteria.

On July 25, 2014, the company made a monetary donation to the Dyslexia Association to cover the cost of salaries/ stipends for Coordinators and Course Assistants for the NOW! Foundations’ Course, which provides training for up to 50 teachers in the areas of Speech, Language, Reading and Spelling. The Dyslexia Association provides specialist training for teachers in internationally recognized techniques for teaching dyslexic children and adults. One of the training programmes is the Neuro-development of Words – NOW! Foundations’ Programme training for up to 50 teachers in the areas of Speech, Language, Reading and Spelling for dyslexic children

In October 2014, a donation of electronics and furniture items were made to the T&T Association for The Hearing Impaired for use by the children based at their Cascade School for the Deaf. The purpose of the Association is to improve the quality of life of the hearing-impaired in Trinidad and Tobago through diagnosis, research into hearing impairments, education and training of the hearing impaired.

On October 24, 2014, Unicomer assisted the Special Child Foundation by sponsoring the tuition costs of five (5) ‘Special Children’ for therapy and remedial treatment for 2015. This sponsorship will go a long way towards the development of treatment of these

also different at Unicomer is that employees actually invest personal funds in community programmes in addition to volunteering time and talent to causes they support.

children. The Special Child Foundation has been in existence for the past thirteen (13) years. Its main objective is to assist in the overall development of Special Children in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Courts Bocas Speak Out Secondary Schools’ Tour is a project of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, which is dedicated to raising an appreciation of all forms of self-expression through words, written and spoken. The final competition held on March 26, 2015 was the culmination of workshops, performance and competitions over the past few months, across five regions: South, Central, East, West and Tobago.

The Unicomer Group sees Corporate Social Responsibility as an integral part of how its delivers its business since the sustainability of communities is essential to its own viability. The company’s philosophy is to facilitate continuous improvement in the quality of life for communities through programmes that enhance socio-economic and environmental development within the region.

T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 33
Intercol Spoken Word Poetry Competition at Daaga Hall, University of the West Indies, March, 2015.

The Dream Catcher blink|bmobile inspires with its “#WhatUWannaBe” Campaign

In the quest for self-realization, everyone dreams – dreams that many hope will bring life-long happiness and satisfaction. blink|bmobile believes that its purpose transcends more than just doing good business, but more so, being a force for social good. The brand goes about this by always seeking opportunities to live out its values of being stubbornly optimisticin the face of negativity - and patriotically passionate to engage in actions that genuinely enrich the lives of people and communities. .

Says Camille Campbell, blink|bmobile’s Chief Marketing Officer, “Our challenge to consumers is to be assertive with their goals and ambitions. Following their passion can meaningfully impact their lives.”

Fuelled by this belief, the brand applied its creativity to what it saw as ‘a common topic; a common passion’ on social media, which was people yearning and dreaming of a better life for themselves, and for their country, amidst the negative headlines that grab their attention daily. Out of this was born the #WhatUWannaBe campaign, which was designed to do two things:

1. Promote real-world stories of ordinary citizens achieving extraordinary things; and

2. Give people a reason to believe that although the bad seemingly outweighs the good sometimes, blink l bmobile would search for people and reasons to believe in the good in us, allowing the brand to be a source of hope.

According to Professor Mark Gabbott, Executive Dean at Macquarie University’s Faculty of Business and Economics, the tendency to dream and to dream big is often a defining characteristic in children which signals that they will become high achievers. “There are some qualities that do set some children and young people apart,” says Gabbott.

He cautions however, that identifying this personality trait is not enough, it requires nurturing. Parents he believes should help “develop the capability, sensibility and commitment of high achievers to help them become tomorrow’s leaders.” As he explains, “This includes building resilience and self-awareness in children, opening them up to new opportunities and helping them realise that they can be whoever they want to be.”

The blink|bmobile #WhatuWannaBe campaign encourages people to embrace opportunities and positive experiences from the things that they are passionate about. It is a universal message to everyone and anyone with a vision for themselves. “We want to inspire, motivate and encourage everyone to follow their dreams,” says Campbell.

The #WhatUWannaBe campaign celebrates the small and the large successes and every little step that gets someone closer to where they want to be. “The stories we are sharing are not necessarily about people that become wealthy. It is ordinary people who are persevering in spite of setbacks because living their dream is more fulfilling than anything money can buy.” Campbell says children should be the heroes of their own stories. “Open them up to a

world of possibilities, unlimited by the often self-imposed constraints of society. Today, following a dream can take you way beyond the traditional careers. Be a lawyer or doctor even a nano-scientist, rock climber or perhaps a Disney animator. If it makes you happy, then make it happen.”

34 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015
Images from the #WhatuWannaBe campaign

With the launch of its ‘#WhatUWannBe ‘Giraffe’ brand story on TV and YouTube which tracks a young boy from his childhood fascination with giraffes to his qualifying and practising as a veterinarian, blink|bmobile has set the stage for its dream series which captures a number of local achievers from across a variety of disciplines.

As Campbell explains, these are the “Inspiration Ambassadors” or guides who demonstrate to others in a very real way, that their dreams are realizable -that there is room for success in every undertaking and the ‘’ website carries a ‘share-the-dream’ feature, which allows visitors to tell their own story of success to the world via social media. As they say, words are singularly the most powerful source available to mankind. The power of inspiring words and the very act of sharing dreams can give life to your dreams and inspire others to do the same.

The campaign is designed to facilitate three distinct groups:

• Dreamers: People who have dreams they are still interested in making a reality

• Achievers: People who followed their dreams despite the odds

• Path Changers: People who had a dream but were unable to make it a reality so they decided to dream another dream.

As an extension of the campaign, blink|bmobile will be hosting “Inspiration Shops” in primary and secondary schools across the country. Inspiration Ambassadors and Celebrity Ambassadors will be conducting sessions with students where they will dare them to share their dreams via social media or “dream boxes” at the schools or at bmobile and TSTT retail stores for a chance to have their own dream come true.

In the end, the #WhatUWannaBe campaign will be a success, if blink bmobile was able to shine light on the possibilities, optimism and inspiration that lie within all of us.

T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 35
The blink|bmobile #WhatuWannaBe campaign encourages people to embrace opportunities and positive experiences from the things that they are passionate about. It is a universal message to everyone and anyone with a vision for themselves.

At the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, employees have developed a keen sense and spirit of volunteerism year-round towards addressing social problems and community needs. The hotel’s Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) programme is both employee-centered and employee-driven, as staff members display willingness and eagerness to assist the disadvantaged and dispossessed beyond what is expected of them.

Employee volunteerism is executed across Hyatt’s global operations under its Thrive programme, the hotel’s corporate responsibility platform which is rooted in a belief that for “our business to thrive, our people, communities and planet must also thrive.”

A shared vision and common focus for the corporate responsibility efforts are accomplished through four well-thought out pillars: Environmental Sustainability, Education and Career Readiness, Economic Development and Investment and Health and Wellness.

Adopting the Thrive pillars, Neemah Persad-Celestine, Marketing Communications Manager at Hyatt Regency Trinidad said the hotel was able to support numerous organizations and communities in the country and assist in uplifting the lives of the underprivileged and the marginalised.

“It is something I have a passion for personally and I was happy that Hyatt had such a programme. It involves everyone from our General Manager to the employees and it is one of the things that we have focused more on over the last four years,” she said in the

cool ambience of the ocean-side hotel in bustling downtown Port-of-Spain.

The hotel responds to numerous requests from the public for sponsorship and support but Persad-Celestine admits that sometimes, the needs required are much more than they can adequately respond. “Unfortunately, we can’t help everybody but we do try our best to help those who really are in urgent need.

Hyatt Regency Trinidad is a donor partner with United Way Trinidad and Tobago, a national non-profit organization which mobilises resources to serve NonGovernmental Organizations (NGOs) and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to help build sound communities and improve the quality of life for the underprivileged.

The over 500 employees voluntarily contribute funds from their own pockets towards a pool and at the end of the month, the hotel matches the total collected and the money is donated to

United Way for distribution to NGOs and CBOs. Since United Way is an audited body, Hyatt knows where their contribution is being sent and how it is being spent.

Donor companies such as the Hyatt attend road shows organized by the United Way to visit homes for the underprivileged or to NGOs and CBOs that are benefiting from the monthly financial support. “You can see what is happening at these homes and what is being done with the money,” added Persad-Celestine.

At the hotel, a Thrive committee comprising representatives from each department including Sales, Food and Beverage, Events, Human Resources, Engineering and others, meet every two weeks to review their annual plan and monitor progress on activities. The Thrive committee representatives would then go back and share with other associates and get support for the activities and help in coordinating,” she said.

36 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015

In June until the end of September, each department adopts an activity on its own or joins with another department to engage in voluntary work which might entail painting a building or providing meals to residents of a home or buying much needed supplies.

In 2014, each Hyatt employee was encouraged to donate a non-perishable grocery item during each quarter of the year. At the end of the quarters, large bags of grocery items were given to United Way to distribute to homes.

“We do this too because in visiting homes, we realise how difficult it is for the NGOs to run these organizations,” said the Hyatt’s Marketing Communications Manager. She added, “We found out that the cost to run a home with 30-40 children is very expensive. Just operational costs like electricity, water, clothes, books, transportation are very high.”

Additionally, staff of the hotel is encouraged to purchase an additional school item to donate to the different homes for children.

“We have been doing this over the last five years. We also asked the NGOs to send us a list of back-to-school items they would require. Last year, the Cotton Tree Foundation in St. Ann’s was the recipient of the back-to-school items,” added Persad-Celestine.

Children from the homes, particularly those in secondary schools also benefit directly when they are hosted at the hotel for a day. In 2014, they were coached on writing resumes and preparing themselves for job interviews and the world of work. In the previous three years, they were given tours of the

hotel including an exhibit set up by the different departments of the hotel to learn more of the hospitality industry as a career option.

Participating in United Way’s National Day of Caring in May this year over 50 volunteers from the hotel spent two days at the Amica Home for Girls in Curepe, painting and upgrading the Junior Dorm and the Senior Dorm. This support also extended to the painting of the exterior walls of the Junior building and the hotel will ensure that the exterior of the Senior Dorm is also upgraded in the coming months.

Part proceeds from Hyatt’s Carnival signature event, LIME, the all-inclusive fete are also donated to a particular NGO/ CBO every year since 2011. Recipients of the funds to date are the Christ-Child Convalescent home in Diego Martin which required a new roof; the Heroes Foundation for their mentorship Big Brother, Big Sister programme; Rainbow Rescue Home for Boys which required an upgrade in bedroom furniture and kitchen appliances and the Amica Home which needed a fire escape.

The over 500 employees voluntarily contribute funds from their own pockets towards a pool and at the end of the month, the hotel matches the total collected and the money is donated to United Way for distribution to NGOs and CBOs.

Although assisting several NGOs and CBOs, Hyatt Regency Trinidad has developed a special relationship with the Cotton Tree Foundation - a pre-school to assist in the education of young students, many of whom come from disadvantaged homes.

“We decided last year at the end of 2013 when we were developing our plan for 2014 to work closely with one or two NGOs for about three years to have a bigger impact on the community and the kids. We chose the Cotton Tree Foundation as one of the NGOs as it also fits in with our education pillar,” she said.

On the environment front, Hyatt employees in 2014 engaged in a cleanup of the Chagville beach and in April 2015, the Scott’s Bay in Chaguaramas to coincide with Global Volunteer Month of Service for Hyatt worldwide. The hotel is already on a drive to reduce waste, energy and water by recycling paper and glass and more recently recycling its plastic so very little goes to waste. During the Global Volunteer Month, employees also started a small garden with the children at The Cotton Tree Foundation.

T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 37

“Reciprocity”, says Giselle Laronde-West, is the word that best describes Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR as popularly termed. “If we take from the earth, we must give back to the earth…it is a natural exchange.” As creatures of the earth, Laronde-West believes that we work in harmony with nature when we give of “ourselves, our gifts our talents.”

Laronde-West insists that it is not just the act of corporate giving that is important. She considers it equally important that the principle is well understood. She says at Angostura, the notion of giving is embedded into their business practices. Many employees she says, are involved in some way in the community, and the company supports these activities where feasible.

There is an internal component to social responsibility that LarondeWest believes is often overlooked but which Angostura takes very seriously. Employees’ well-being at work and at home is an important part of strengthening communities and creating a stable, secure society.

A series of programmes has been developed by a cross-functional internal CSR committee – all aimed at creating responsible and engaged citizens from within the Angostura workforce. Programmes that teach safe practices in and around the office and home, preservation of the eco-systems in the way domestic waste is handled, conservation of energy, and good health practices top the list of scheduled information and training programmes.

Giselle Laronde-West Angostura Limited

Laronde-West is particularly proud of how some employees have taken recycling onboard, even passing on that knowledge to their families and methodically policing the system themselves to ensure compliance. Their children, along with children from schools in the fenceline areas and community leaders, are part of annual workshops on recycling, replanting and energy conservation on and outside World Environment Day.

But for this former Miss World, it is more than a business philosophy. Her conviction is that the true beauty in giving “comes from the heart.” At a very personal level, she is engaged with helping young women to get in touch with, and to develop their best selves. She lectures on etiquette, attire, attitude and the many possible ways to reflect the positive characteristics and ignite the human spirit for success and lasting happiness. “It’s all about how we communicate”, she says. More than how we speak, the way in which we project ourselves, speaks volumes… I’m glad that I can use my own experience in the wider world, to help young women find that voice.” The girls in turn, pass on that learning in what Laronde-West describes as a ‘good chain reaction.”

“We as practitioners, have the greatest opportunity for social impact beyond the workplace. That’s because we have the knowledge, the information and the expertise to make it happen for others. We should expand our participation in our niche area to the wider community. This is how one person doing a little bit of

good somewhere can make a whole lot of difference. That to me, is not just about work – it’s about sustainability.”

Angostura is one of the Caribbean’s leading rum producers with a superb collection of rum brands and is the world’s market leader for bitters. Angostura® aromatic bitters has not been changed since the first bottle was introduced to the world in 1824. Besides being a Royal Warrant holder to the Queen of England for its Angostura® aromatic bitters, the company has successfully marketed its iconic bitters globally and has a geographic reach into 164 markets. Angostura’s international rums have won gold medals at many international competitions in the past decade and have been named ‘the world’s most awarded rum range’ by the Rum Masters. The company is listed on the T&T Stock Exchange

38 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 CSR Perspectives
“We as practitioners, have the greatest opportunity for social impact beyond the workplace…That to me is not about work – it’s about sustainability.”
Giselle Jeanne-Marie Laronde-West is Senior Manager, Public Affairs & Communications at Angostura Limited

“Beyond company and person – CSR exists to satisfy a greater purpose.” So says Toni Sirju-Ramnarine when asked to share her perspectives on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Immediately, there is an outpouring of passion tempered with some corporate insights into her company’s social investment activities.

She comes from an engineering background so of course the Review is curious as to what led her down the path to the position of Vice President, Corporate Operations at Atlantic, where among her many responsibilities she has oversight for the company’s Sustainability portfolio, and inherent social investment programmes.

“I have a deep sense of national pride and love of country. I can thank my parents and the teachers at Bishops for that. Those values were instilled a long time ago… and they are very much a part of who I am today.”

Sirju-Ramnarine believes that CSR makes good business sense in how it builds brands and enhances commercial opportunities. But she also believes companies have a moral obligation to be deeply engaged in a principle of mutual returns where a company must seek to ensure that communities are better off because of how they chose to do business.

Sirju-Ramnarine sees hers, and the social consciousness of Atlantic as mutually aligned. This is why she considers herself blessed to be in a position to guide the governance

Toni Sirju-Ramnarine

Atlantic LNG Company of Trinidad and Tobago

framework, shape and implement programmes and projects that are life sustaining and which help to secure the future for generations to come. Across the fields of sport, education, environment and local economic development SirjuRamnarine feels confident that the commitment, influence, size and scale of Atlantic can touch many lives across the country in a sustainable, meaningful way. She is grateful for that and sees it as a great platform from which a lot of good gets done.

Sirju-Ramnarine explains that CSR is not about philanthropy - even though it does that. It is not about social investment - although that is its focus. It’s not about money - although much of that is needed to make it work. “It is about touching lives”, she says. “It is about galvanising the wider community towards fair trade, transparency, equal opportunity – it is also about better governance through our insistence on a robust procurement policy, systemic ethical compliance and adherence to sound environmental practices.” This, she explains, is also good CSR.

For Toni Sirju-Ramnarine, CSR is not just a part of her job. She encourages giving in even the smallest ways –helping out at a school event, reading to someone who cannot read, or being part of a neighbourhood initiative. The opportunities for leaving a personal footprint, as she sees it, are endless. “It is my personal philosophy that giving promotes self-realisation... passing on knowledge and helping others are means

of leaving a bit of oneself behind as a stepping stone for others to grow.”

Atlantic is one of the world’s largest producers of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), producing LNG from natural gas delivered from fields in and around Trinidad and Tobago to its four-train liquefaction facility, which is located in Point Fortin, on the southwest coast of Trinidad. A world class business, with an established and proven record in the areas of safety, plant utilisation, gas turbine reliability and sustainability; the company is proud to be a catalyst for the continued growth and development of Trinidad and Tobago through revenue contribution, or through people and community development.

T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 39 CSR Perspectives
“It is my personal philosophy that giving promotes self-realisation... passing on knowledge and helping others are means of leaving a bit of oneself behind as a stepping stone for others to grow”

It’s been 12 years since she first joined BP and it’s been quite a journey for Ronda Francis who is Corporate Responsibility Manager at the company’s Trinidad operations. Her focus has always been on the lives and well-being of people and she has been instrumental in managing the company’s relationship with the various stakeholders and interest groups with which bpTT interacts on a daily basis.

BP has a rather disciplined approach to stakeholder relations and demands measureable impact wherever it invests in social or economic programmes across the globe. Of particular focus for bpTT is the Mayaro community which plays host to the company’s operations on the South East coast of the main island. Ronda is quite up to the task as she has to deliver an annual report and accounting of social investment projects, detailing how these are impacting the triple bottom line. A custodian of reputation in a business where time is calculated in millions, she is mindful that good relations have an inherent quid pro quo.

For the dedicated mother of four and one who is visibly active in her own domestic community, she sees this engagement less as work and more of a calling. Her own faith teachings demand a dutiful care to the marginalised and disenfranchised.

Ronda says she models her life and her work on the sentiments of a very famous hymn “If I can help somebody just to carry on, then my living would not be in vain.” She even has the words affixed to her refrigerator as a reminder

to her children that the call is not just for her but for all.

“In my own domestic community,” she explains, “my home is a kind of hub for helping; be it with a job, a meal, clothing, helping students with their school work, or perhaps getting people trained…the opportunities for giving are endless.”

Ronda says at some point, her beliefs and her life’s work merge. “My motto is to give back from what I have been blessed to receive, and bpTT’s policy is to ensure that when the company benefits that the country benefits as well”. As she explains, bpTT’s approach to CSR is driven by the company’s aspiration, which calls on it to “deliver extraordinary business performance, take part in the development of Trinidad and Tobago; and positively impact the lives of every citizen.”

“I think it’s very important to be a responsible operator - to give back beyond levies and taxes and to be an integral part of the community in which you operate,” she posits. “It’s simply the right way to do business.”

“Capacity building is at the heart of our approach. At one level, this means ensuring that there is adequate local content in the company’s activities and ensuring that members of the community are sufficiently trained to take advantage of employment opportunities – either at bpTT or elsewhere in the industry.” The company has a myriad of training programmes that prepare youth for work in several sectors and the Mayaro

Training Centre has become the central place for skills development and tertiary education opportunities.

“At a deeper level”, says Ronda, “building capacity is more than preparing people to take up jobs. It is about giving members of the community a foundation to pursue their own development. We are focussed on education, manpower development, arts and culture; but our programmes include basic skills like numeracy and literacy and music education. Even steelpan construction, tuning and arranging skills can lay the foundation for a sustainable career.”

“What I learnt from my parents’ generosity, continues to redound - You give the best that you can. As small as it might be, there’s always something to give. Treat people with respect and dignity and fairness. These are the values that I share with bpTT and which we in turn, share with the national community.”

40 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015
CSR Perspectives
“At a deeper level... building capacity is more than preparing people to take up jobs. It is about giving members of the community a foundation to pursue their own development”
Ronda Francis is Corporate Responsibility Manager at BPTT

When Brian Collins sits in his office, his door is always open. Accessibility is one of his key traits. He will answer emails and take his own phone calls. He meets with staff regularly at their offices which are located all over Trinidad. In many ways, he exemplifies the company he leads.

As recently appointed Managing Director for Trinidad of the Consumer Group of the newly merged Cable and Wireless and Columbus Entity, C&W Communications, his personal style is always to keep moving - see the gaps and get to the goal.

Prior to Collins’ joining Columbus, the company has always been very cautious and very strategic with regard to its CSR policy, eschewing the typical moves made by other telecoms. That hasn’t changed since Brian started to lead the team; what has happened though, is that the company is no longer shy about what it does and has been taking some major steps over the past three years - adding new and innovative projects to its CSR portfolio.

Speaking to the CSR Review on his company’s CSR philosophy, Collins says, “We have four areas in which we seek to have impact: Arts and Culture, Sports, Education and Employee Volunteerism. We tend to go off the beaten path seeking to involve ourselves in projects that do not necessarily have high visibility and we seek to have impact on people and on the community… If we do decide to get involved in any project, we make the decision based on the level of engagement with those involved and

Columbus Communications Trinidad Limited

how the project will benefit the people and the country.” He says the approach has worked well. The company’s work with the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival is a great example of how its strategic approach has brought exponential benefits.

When asked about his personal views on CSR and its place in business, his answer is immediate. “For me, CSR is about impact. When we assess projects, I always ask myself how will we be improving the lives, the situation and access to opportunities for those leading the initiative?” Although he is actively involved and proud of everything the company has achieved in CSR, he feels most personal about the company’s association with the Lady Hochoy Vocational School in Cocorite. “There’s a special kinship with the school. I appreciate the work the administrators are doing and I’m grateful that they are doing it.” As he explains, the children and adults who attend the Vocational School need to be there and the families need the support.

Collins has been instrumental in setting up the Flow South Central Rugby League, which has already brought three young men on to the national team in just one year of start-up. He has planted trees in the Fondes Amandes Community Reforestation Project, and was present at the launch of the Flow Legends Community Legacy Outreach Programme in Tobago this year. By policy, the company facilitates employees taking time off to volunteer in the community and Brian often works alongside employees on a number of other community projects.

Collins is clear that the CSR agenda has a shared accountability and business has a key role in that equation. His perspective is that Trinidad and Tobago as with any

other country finds itself challenged by many social issues including crime, caring for our youth and creating sustainability in the cultural arts.

The area in which Collins thinks Columbus helps best and will continue to invest, is in the area of bridging the digital divide. “At the end of the day we are a telecoms company, providing internet services to residential and commercial clients. We currently have a project which provides free broadband access to primary and secondary schools, NGOs and churches. We all know the value of the internet. We know how it’s changing lives, creating opportunities and allowing people to see themselves as part of the global community.” Currently the company has more than 400 schools connected and is ramping up for the second half of 2015 as it seeks to connect even more institutions.

The company’s main CSR projects are:

• Owner of the Triple A Programme: Provision of free internet and subsidized telephone and cable to primary/secondary schools, NGOs and Religious Institutions

• Presenting Sponsor of the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival

• Primary Sponsor of the South Central Youth Rugby League

• Platinum Sponsor of Tobago Jazz Experience

• Platinum Sponsor of BA Legends

• Title Sponsor of Flow Legends Community Legacy Outreach

• Primary Sponsor of the Flow Energy Sunday - Mini-Duathlon

• Supporter of the Lady Hochoy Vocational Centre

• Supporter of Fondes Amandes Reforestation Community Project

• Supporter of Success Laventille Secondary School

T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 41
CSR Perspectives
Brian Collins is Managing Director at Columbus Communications Trinidad Ltd.

Few people have that cathartic moment – that single event or experience which signals a seismic shift in direction or their philosophical outlook on life. For Gregory Sloane-Seale, it was the 1988 death of his father Pelham Sloane-Seale, former Central Bank Secretary and lawyer, while he was still a student in Canada at the University of Windsor.

By his own admission, he was blissfully under-performing and purposefully rebelling against many things that represented the establishment. “I didn’t want templates set for me”, he explains. However, on the day he got the news of his father’s passing, something clicked. His contrived resistance to societal norms felt vacuous and ineffective – there were suddenly no real targets and no realisable outcomes to his maverick posturing.

He smiles as he remembers the only constant in a world that was suddenly turned on its head - his patient mother Emma, then Chief Accountant at NEMWIL Insurance waiting in the wings and praying for his response. And that response came immediately and profusely. He refocused his efforts to such an extent that he actually graduated a semester earlier than expected at the tender age of twenty-one with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Psychology. From a predicted failure, to completing his course ahead of time, he surprised everyone including himself.

In what could appear as a penitential journey, immediately upon graduating in 1989, he went to work in Toronto at a residential institution for male juvenile delinquents. His plan was to work there for a year. But a deep sense of connection with his charges at both an emotive and psychological level, kept him there for four more. It’s at that point that Gregory Sloane-Seale realised he had found his calling.

In 1994, he returned to Trinidad and commenced voluntary work with the late Ivis Gibson at Families-inAction before being hired in 1995 as coordinator of a “Street Children” programme with the YMCA. His work in Canada had provided the impetus and the foundation he needed to engage meaningfully and productively with “at risk” youth. During this period he led the Street Children’s Programme in Port of Spain. He also worked collaboratively with homeless young men at Marian House, an institution managed by the Living Water Community, with teenagers at the CREDO Foundation and Servol Life Centres in Maraval, Diego Martin, Spree

42 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 Conscious Leaders

Simon Centre and Beetham Gardens where many of the young men from his programme would have been referred. Clearly there was much to do at home. So Sloane-Seale took the decision to put down his anchor at the YMCA where he re-engineered social programmes and interventions to be more results-driven and responsive to the current issues, and engaged in child and youth rights advocacy.

For the next eleven years, he and a team of mostly young volunteers worked tirelessly with youth-at-risk both at the YMCA and in communities such as Beetham Gardens, Sea Lots, and Foster Road in Sangre Grande, creating lasting change in many lives, using a multi-pronged approach. Life coaching and counselling as a means of personal transformation has been key to the process; but so too are life & social skills development, creating alternatives to traditional employment, providing recreational outlets, and sharing critical information on sexual and reproductive health and lifestyle diseases.

He was promoted to General Secretary at the YMCA in January of 2006, a position he held briefly, as he accepted a job offer in May of that same year to work with the Ministry of National Security as Head of the Citizen Security Programme (CSP). Sloane-Seale had just completed a Masters’ Degree from Springfield College, Massachusetts in Organizational Management and Leadership and saw this new job as an opportunity to apply that knowledge and his front-line experience for wider impact throughout Trinidad & Tobago.

The aim of the CSP is to reduce crime and violence in specific communities considered to be ‘hot-spots’ or ‘highneeds’ areas across the country from Covigne Rd in the north west, North East Settlement & Quash Trace in the East, Embacadere/La Romaine in the south to Bon Accord/Bethel and Scarborough in Tobago to name a few. In addition, CSP was granted cabinet approval to expand into communities within East Port-of Spain and Laventille, which according to local statistics have the highest number

annually of recorded cases of murder, shootings and woundings.

Key focus areas for the organization are:

• Reduction in levels of homicides, robberies and woundings in partner communities

• Increase in perception of safety in those communities

• Reduction of firearms-related injuries, child abuse, domestic violence and youth violence

• Increase in collective efficacy to prevent violence in partner communities

For instance, the T&T Innovative Parenting Support is working at another level to break the cycle of deviancy from within the home and several NGOs provide resources for after-school supervision, literacy classes, music programmes and sporting activities. Even businesses play a critical role in providing on-the-job training to facilitate important social transitions.

Always open to external scrutiny, he is willing to facilitate assessments and reviews of the CSP: the UNDP conducted a Peer Review in November 2014 to ascertain if the CSP’s strategy was well aligned to “best practice” underpinned by measureable objectives; and that the Programme was delivering on its stated objectives to reduce crime and violence at a community level. The preliminary findings are quite encouraging indicating that the CSP is indeed on the right track. Further to this, ANEVER Ltd, led by Dr. Lennise Baptiste, is also in the process of conducting a comprehensive independent evaluation of the programme with the view of determining its efficiency, effectiveness and impact.

Sloane-Seale knows very well that the fix is a tall order, but he is not a man that’s easily daunted. He believes that in the end, the human spirit triumphs. Love trumps violence every day in his world. Deeply committed to family with his wife of 21 years, artist Tessa Alexander and their three daughters, he upholds the principles of ‘our brother’s keeper’. He feels that safety, security and stability in society demand a collective accountability. “Nothing happens in isolation…no one is insulated from crime and violence… no one is insulated from deprivation. If we turn away from another’s needs, we are turning away from our own… we cannot ignore our inter-connectivity.” That shared responsibility is central to how the CSP functions. Interventions are made across the human life cycle from infancy to adulthood in a number of ways.

A network of people and organizations, both within government and civil society, support the work of the Programme.

Sloane-Seale says at times there are simple and obvious solutions to what appears insurmountable, “Most of what we do is about developing emotional intelligence…. there is no textbook solution to the complex challenges faced in high risk areas.” He believes that giving people a voice is the first step to effecting change. When coupled with life and social skills development and the opportunity to participate in programmes that can create more peaceful and progressive ways of viewing life, he believes that people are better equipped to address the conflicts that manifest as gang warfare and a spiralling person-on-person violence. “If we can create more confident individuals who feel they have greater control over their future, and who believe that they have a contribution to make that is valued, then we will have a healthier society… that is essential to rebuilding our fractured communities”.

T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 43

He further stated,“If you don’t trust yourself, how can we trust others and build meaningful relationships based on respect and understanding?”

When asked what it is in his DNA that draws him so compellingly to a life of social service, his grey-green eyes flicker thoughtfully as he recounts stories told to him of his grandmothers – Therese, his mother’s mother, a well-known volunteer social worker in Sangre Grande

in the 50’s and 60’s, and Lalan SloaneSeale his paternal grandmother, who was also an active social worker within the Presbyterian church in the Southland. These two towers of strength imparted values that have filtered down through the generations. Born in Belmont and attending prestigious schools, he and his two older sisters Beverly and Gillian straddled two worlds which they grew to embrace with equal comfort – equipping

them to expertly navigate seemingly conflicting social settings with great ease.

Sloane-Seale admits that this is what he will be doing for the rest of his life in some form. He is deeply committed to helping people flourish wherever they are. At the NGO level, there are many people doing great work, he says; but he believes businesses too have to connect at a more conscious level in their social responsibility.

44 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015
“Nothing happens in isolation…no one is insulated from crime and violence… no one is insulated from deprivation. If we turn away from another’s needs, we are turning away from our own… we cannot ignore our inter-connectivity.”

“It’s more than money,” he stresses. “It is about humane leadership…business leaders must understand that an employee’s emotional health and wellbeing is an important aspect of securing our society”. “Leaders must look at their human resource differently – employees are mothers and fathers, care-givers and often sole-providers who are working for you… The workplace is an extension of home and community”.

Sloane-Seale believes a more personal approach is needed whereby employees are facilitated in giving of time and self to communities – not just occasionally but systematically transferring skills, imparting knowledge, sharing stories and empathising in tangible ways. “This is what will make a real difference in reinforcing our inter-dependency, bridging differences and building that safe and viable society for which we are all striving.”

The Citizen Security Programme is being executed through the financing of three components:-1). Community Action 2). Assistance to the Trinidad & Tobago Police Service and 3). The institutional strengthening of the Ministry of National Security. The CSP services 22 partner communities throughout Trinidad and Tobago. In Trinidad: Cocorite, Covigne Road and

Patna /River Es-tate (Diego Martin), Dibe /Belle Vue/ Dundonald Hill, St. Barb’s (Laventille), Gonzales (Belmont), Sogren Trace (Laventille), Mon Repos and Never Dirty (Morvant), Beetham Gardens, Farm Road (St. Joseph), Mt. D’or (Champs Fleurs), North Eastern Settlement and Quashe Trace (Sangre Grande), Pinto Road and Samaroo Village/ Mootoo Lande (Arima), Enterprise (Chaguanas), Embacadere (San Fernando) and La Romaine. In Tobago: Bethel, Bon Accord and Glen Road/ Darel Spring.

Among a number of initiatives is the ICON (Inspiring Confidence in Our Neighbourhood) Fund which has been established to facilitate micro-projects aimed at improving the life, safety and security of the community. It supports the development of innovative ideas and

strategies in the field of community based crime and violence prevention. Creative projects that strengthen community protective factors or assets through inspiring confidence, pride and selfesteem in young people are encouraged. There are four types of projects that can be funded: Situational Crime Prevention, Community Action, Youth Development and Capacity Building. Community Based Social Interventions are developed collaboratively by experts and residents to address child maltreatment, youth violence, domestic violence and anti-social behaviour in all partner communities. School Based Violence Reduction Programmes will equip parents, teachers and students with the skills needed to address various forms of school violence.

T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 45

CSR and Global Health Threats

What can organizations do to help abate this issue?

An increasing number of businesses and organizational leaders are recognising the importance of the United Nationssponsored Global Compact initiative as a means of addressing social problems and keeping world markets open. The Compact presents an entry point for the business community to work in partnership with United Nations agencies, and provides a basis for structured dialogue between the United Nations, business, labour, and civil society on improving corporate practices in the social arena. The major principles of the Compact focus on human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption.

As early as 1992, the United Nations’ Agenda 211 encouraged world business to undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility through the efficient “ethical management of products and processes from the point of view of health, safety and environmental aspects.” In addition,

as a follow up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2000, the United Nations developed eight major Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2002, which also had implications for corporate responsibility, environmental, and health issues. Four of these goals focus on the: eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, achievement of universal primary education, promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women, and ensuring environmental sustainability.

The other four goals specifically reference health-related issues – viz: reducing the mortality rate of children under 5 years by two-thirds, reducing maternal mortality by three-quarters, decreasing the incidence of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), malaria, and other major diseases, and promoting a global partnership for development, which calls for assistance with medicines in cooperation with the private sector.

46 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015
CSR Lessons
1 An Action Plan developed at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

The work programme of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 referred to corporate responsibility in the area of health and sustainable development, access to health care services, safer technologies for drinking water and waste management, and a reduction of occupational injuries and illnesses. It further emphasised the link between public health promotion and corporate responsibility, and called for a reduction and elimination of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.

There are plans to hold a high level Summit in September 2015, which will build on the achievements of the MDGs. Corporations and other interest groups will increasingly be expected to assist with carrying out commitments made at the international level, and even to assume the roles and responsibilities that were originally those of governments. One wonders how best to incentivize corporations to participate in efforts to improve global health issues, especially in developing countries that are increasingly plagued with health problems. Groups such as the World Economic Forum, the International Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary, have encouraged corporate entities to become involved in combatting infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria. While it is true that multinational corporations could make a tremendous contribution to efforts to improve global health, the notion that it is not the responsibility of private corporations to provide public goods causes some conflict. Despite this, efforts must be made to involve small and medium enterprises and large corporations in containing outbreaks of viruses and the spread of diseases.

Strategies must be put in place to encourage all companies to contribute to public health initiatives. For instance, when companies are carrying out environmental impact assessments for

advancing their businesses, they should perhaps include an evaluation of health issues in the areas where their operations are based. Such assessments could benefit their employees and perhaps the general public, but could also lead to increased productivity and profit. For instance, no company would make a business decision that would lead to the spread of TB among its workforce since it would result in decreased productivity.

Recently, in the Caribbean, there was an outbreak of chikungunya (Chick-V) and dengue which had an adverse effect on productivity at workplaces. In Jamaica, where a national state of emergency was declared, it was reported that: “The Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) is estimating that about 13 million man hours may have been lost to the chikungunya epidemic, potentially

resulting in economic losses of more than $6 billion as workers stay off the job while recovering”.2 In fact, some business places in Jamaica saw as much as 60 per cent of staff affected by Chik-V. The Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) conducted a survey that indicated an average absence from work by employees of “four days at 81 companies, representing 35,072 of lost man hours”.3 In addition, the JMA’s survey noted that other workers took time off to care for family or friends who were affected by the virus. Based on the nature of the virus, the impact on productivity could be both short and long-term since some employees could return to work prior to full recovery, while others could be affected for years, resulting in reduced productivity in each case.4

In Trinidad & Tobago, Ms. GajadharInnis warned that diseases like Ebola, Chik-V and dengue would have an adverse effect on productivity in the workplace. She said that while employers would only look at it as loss of productivity, there were other issues at hand such as the financial burden to workers for paying for dengue and Chick-V tests.5

Perhaps, these recent experiences of productivity loss in the Caribbean could encourage corporations (small, medium and large) to invest in improving the health system in the countries where they operate. This will redound benefit to companies as well as to communities where they are based.

2 The Gleaner Newspaper, October 15, 2014.

3 Ibid.

4 The Gleaner Newspaper, October 15, 2014.

5 The Guardian Newspaper, October 23, 2014. http://

Wendy Singh is a Human Rights & Human Development Specialist and CSR Consultant. She is the principal at JWS International Consultants based in Puerto Rico.

T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 47
“the United Nations’ Agenda 21 encouraged world business to undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility through the efficient “ethical management of products and processes from the point of view of health, safety and environmental aspects.”

Data-Driven CSR

We need data and business-focused professionals to advance CSR in the local context

This latest version of the CSR Review shows Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Trinidad and Tobago carries a rather broad interpretation for different companies. From the multi-nationals who use CSR, both for reputation building and risk management, to the state enterprises who consider CSR as a natural extension of their more nationaloriented mandate, through to the small businesses that focus appropriately on more localised sponsorship and fenceline community support.

This diversity in views is to be expected given the dual nature of our economy – a highly international energy sector that needs to continually win trust from the government and the population, alongside a local manufacturing, services and trading sector that tends to be dominated by family-owned business, with an increasing willingness to look outward. When one adds to this mix a very active position by government to focus its policies on re-distribution of energy earnings, then the space for

company-level response to CSR is bound to be wide-ranging.

In the face of such diversity, I thought it might be useful to explore how we can make CSR more successful, especially for smaller companies, which are looking to devote scarce resources to a ‘worthwhile’ cause. However, in doing this, I do not want to focus on the key drivers of successful CSR; that issue in my view has been extensively covered globally. While more can be done on refining some of those discussions locally, I thought it might be more useful to consider some of the key “missings” in the local context that I have observed after working in this field for more than a decade. These missing elements in my view are preventing a more effective use of CSR as a strategic tool as opposed to an add-on cost - an important perspective that many businesses overlook during an economic downturn.

48 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 2014 CSR Lessons
“I thought it might be useful to explore how we can make CSR more successful, especially for smaller companies which are looking to devote scarce resources to a ‘worthwhile’ cause.”

The first of these involves demonstrating the value that CSR can add to business value in the local context with ‘cold hard facts’. I raise this because I have learnt, after a few painful experiences, how challenging it is to provide consultancy services (especially in the non-energy sector) in the area of CSR solutions. It often demands much ‘selling’ of the concept of CSR before we can get to solutions. This is in no way an attempt to minimise the social efforts of the local business leadership, but I do think – especially as local companies begin to look to export – that we must consider the need to build more credibility around CSR as a strategic value driver. Currently much of the debate around this locally is by ‘converts’ to CSR who – in their fervour – do not always make the fact-based case for inclusion in the business agenda. However, without data, it makes it more difficult to convince local businesses of the need for a different view.

We need a fuller exploration of the examples of effective company level interventions in communities and NGO’s that have been made in the local context. I do think that more work needs to be done by our academic research institutions to show with empirical evidence the benefits that CSR when ‘done well’ can add to the bottom line. I also – maybe controversially – suggest that there is a great deal of research that sits within the local energy MultiNational Companies (MNCs) that can help progress this debate. A judicious release of some of the key research and findings that have been used to understand the impact that their CSR spend has had on local communities – which previously was privy only to internal audiences –can also help to bring more understanding of the risk management, brand enhancing and employee loyalty that such programmes can deliver. Without such data, CSR practitioners are bound to struggle to get beyond the ‘let’s do a sponsorship’ conversation.

The second “missing” for me is the need for enhanced capability amongst the local CSR professional community. I think that there are encouraging signs that we are moving to staffing CSR roles with competencies that are necessarily different from public relations and from communications functions. However, the movement is slow and I suspect part of the problem lies in the access to requisite skills training.

Local training programmes aimed at CSR professionals are usually part of some larger course of study that circumvents a more in-depth discussion on some of the more niche issues facing CSR such as reporting standards, quantification of benefits and measurement of impact and community based stakeholder

There is also another dimension to competency. CSR professionals must first and foremost be business-oriented in their thinking, with a keen understanding of business drivers and strategy. Too many of those who work in this field are limited in their contribution, either through exclusion from the business planning process, or by a misunderstanding of their role. What many bring to bear however, is the deep context of practical issues. Real-time access and proximity give them an ability to understand stakeholders – particularly communitybased stakeholders, and the social issues that must be addressed in improving quality of life for the wider community.

Today’s CSR professional must be able to balance the ‘business need’ with the ‘societal need’ to get a valid hearing in the business environment. Ensuring that CSR professionals are immersed in the business conversation, allows the social discussion to also become about business and not separate and apart from the business.

The delivery of CSR is rich for debate in Trinidad and Tobago. However, while community needs remain significant, local business will only be convinced to put hard-earned money into social programmes if the business value and case is compelling. Having CSR professionals more deeply engaged in the discussions about business outcomes, and equipping them with the skills needed to use data to support the CSR strategic response, will go a long way in making CSR part of core strategy of our local businesses.

management. The practice of CSR requires a multi-disciplinary perspective and a cross functional approach to delivering solutions for both business and its communities. Training that helps to shape such an orientation may be challenging but is also essential to improving the delivery of CSR as part of the strategic business planning process.

T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 49
Today’s CSR professional must be able to balance the ‘business need’ with the ‘societal need’ to get a valid hearing in the business environment. Ensuring that CSR professionals are immersed in the business conversation, allows the social discussion to also become about business and not separate and apart from the business.
Sheldon Daniel is a specialist advisor in Strategic Communications and Reputation, and Managing Director of SXD Leadership Communications.

Youth Forum on Climate Change

Building a cadre of youth leaders

This year, 2015 marks the five year anniversary of the Trinidad and Tobago Youth Forum on Climate Change, an annual gathering of young people from Trinidad and Tobago to discuss environmental/climate change issues and how they can respond to them in their homes, communities and schools.

Plans to celebrate and commemorate this milestone achievement are in the early stages but organizers hope this year’s event will feature key youth environmentalists who are engaged in various activities in their communities and observing their impact.

The Youth Forum, organized by Earth Conscious magazine was created to fill an information gap facing young people in the twin-island state. It was geared towards motivating them into volunteerism and activism and in this way shape a new cadre of action-oriented citizens, to continue the work of keeping the planet healthy and sustainable and becoming the next generation of protectors of the environment.

In each Forum, the response of youth delegates has been overwhelming and encouraging. They engage enthusiastically in the panel discussions; ask probing questions to presenters; challenge their peers to get up and get involved; discuss their own ideas to solutions and what might be needed in our society and then they go home and to their schools and share the knowledge received from the Forum.

Although the Forum tries to cater to first time youth delegates, we have had requests from some to attend the Forum every year. They are the ones who are active in environmental issues in the country, either by belonging to an existing group or having gone on to create their own ad hoc group.

50 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015
CSR Lessons
“Youth Speaks” at the 1st annual YFCC in 2011 YFCC 2012 Breakout session, YFCC 2011 YFCC 2011

It’s also very encouraging to see youth delegates, as a result of the Forum, getting involved in activities. For instance, one youth delegate went back to her primary school to share her knowledge of climate change impact on Trinidad and Tobago to younger students. A group of students who attended the Forum one year decided to have a clean-up campaign in their school and close environs, and yet another student with the support of the principal, created colourful signs which were posted above sinks to encourage the conservation of water. These are small steps but collectively they have positive repercussions.

Some youth delegates who attended the Forum informed us that they were influenced by the environmental

discussions to pursue tertiary education in related studies.

At our first Forum, youth delegates, challenged by the then Minister of the Environment who addressed them, developed six possible projects for the government to undertake. The last we heard about the projects is that they were at various government agencies for feedback to the Ministry. That was five years ago, so the government’s clockwork runs terribly slow!

The projects that emerged from the break-out sessions were: a national programme prompting backyard farming or grow-box farming; national recycling and separation of waste by household; a nationwide art competition with the theme ‘climate change’; a climate change/

green/environment award in cultural activities; establishment of an analysis unit to acquire data on the changing national landscape; and


EduXchange which encouraged the use of the Internet as a communication tool, linking schools to an interactive web repository to build knowledge, and share experiences on climate change and environmental sustainability.

Also emerging from the first Forum was the Port Spain Youth Declaration, a copy of which was sent to global Environment Ministers who attended the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa.

The Forum over the years dealt with issues such as the economic impact of climate change on the Caribbean, the impact of climate change on water resources, agriculture; had numerous environmentalist speakers; a panel debate; Q&As and interactive discussions.

In 2014, we deliberately changed the format of the Youth Forum since we wanted to have a closer collaboration with a core group of youth to move actionable projects forward. They have agreed to undertake these projects, mainly at a community level and at their schools and at our 2015 Forum, we expect to get feedback from them.

Planning and executing the Forum is a major undertaking, but at the end of each Forum, organizers feel a sense of accomplishment as youth delegates, buoyed with enthusiasm, are determined to make a difference in our world.

For more information on youth leadership and climate change, visit the YFCC website at:

For more information on Earth Conscious Magazine, visit the website at:

T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 51
YFCC 2013 Group session - YFCC 2014 Linda Hutchinson-Jafar is Managing Director of the Caribbean PR Agency and publisher of Earth Conscious magazine. Email:

Greenhouse Gases, Business and You

What you should know about climate change

At the recently concluded Business & Climate Summit in Paris on May 21st, “25 worldwide business networks representing over 6.5 million companies from more than 130 countries pledged to lead the global transition to a low-carbon, climate resilient economy at the Business & Climate Summit”1. Recognising that greenhouse gas emissions will result in temperatures rising above the 2 degrees recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on climate change, the CEOs of six major oil companies (some of them operators in Trinidad and Tobago); “BG Group plc, BP plc, Eni S.p.A, Royal Dutch Shell plc, Statoil ASA, and Total SA – publicly called on governments to establish policy frameworks to price carbon”.2

In 2013, Dr. Donnie Boodlal in a presentation at the annual Energy Conference at the Hyatt Regency hotel explained that Trinidad and Tobago is “the second highest per capita producer of greenhouse emissions after Qatar”, and


2 Ibid.

the “second highest producer per unit of GDP,” Boodlal drew his conlcusions from a study undertaken by the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT). The country produces 53 million tonnes of greenhouse emissions annually, with 80 per cent coming from the petrochemical and power generation industries.

The main causes for Climate Change are CO2 and Methane in the atmosphere, while the main producer of CO2 is methane or greenhouse gases. The problem we face today is how to reduce the production of methane. Because Trinidad is highly industrialized, the biggest impact in greenhouse gas reduction must come from the energy sector. According to Boodal, the most promising greenhouse gas reducing mechanisms that could be adopted in Trinidad were: “switching

to compressed natural gas (CNG) in the transportation sector, and using carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery (CO2 EOR) processes in the petrochemical sector.” Nevertheless action is needed from the smaller sectors in getting the right balance.

This article briefly describes the major causes contributing to climate change in Trinidad & Tobago and addresses effective ways to help reduce climate change in an island society through information and education of citizens, thus steering them towards a new consciousness of the environment.

The greenhouse gases form a layer in the atmosphere allowing sunlight to enter while retaining heat, thereby causing the temperature on earth to gradually increase. Rising temperatures cause a change in weather patterns and a slow but steady melting of glaciers and the polar ice caps. The resulting extreme weather pattern (increased stronger storms/hurricanes) and higher ocean water levels are especially dangerous for island nations such as Trinidad and Tobago.

52 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015
CSR Lessons

Unnatural CO2 production is caused by the burning of fossil fuels such as petroleum, natural gas and coal. The CO2 in these fuels is contained underground, and released into the atmosphere when these materials are burned for energy production, thus increasing the atmospheric CO2 levels unnaturally.

Methane is produced by the decomposition of organic matter in landfills and agricultural lands. By reducing waste and garbage volumes, landfill space can be decreased, thus causing less production of methane. Additionally, through intelligent landfill management, methane can be captured and used for energy production.

The digestion process of ruminants (cows, goats, etc.) is another significant source for methane production. High demand for meat especially in developed nations has increased livestock rearing to a level that impacts worldwide methane production.

CO2 levels can be reduced in various ways, but decreasing energy consumption is the best option for lowering this production. For instance:

• Consciously using electric household articles and means of transportation (cars/trucks etc.) that utilise fossil energy is the first step to reducing CO2 levels.

• Implementing alternative energy sources such as solar and wind energy also play an important role in lowering the use of fossil fuels.

• Using existing sources of methane gas such as landfills, where the methane gas produced is collected and burned to make electricity, thus lowering demand for fossil fuels.

Recycling is another significant option to reduce energy consumption and lower CO2 production. For instance, the recycling of:

10 Aluminum cans saves enough electricity to power an Air Conditioner for 1hour 42 min.

10 Glass bottles saves enough electricity to power an Air Conditioner for 42 min

10 Plastic bottles saves enough electricity to power an Air Conditioner for 48 min

10 Weekly Magazines saves enough electricity to power an Air Conditioner for 6 min

10 Grocery Plastic bags saves enough electricity to power an Air Conditioner for 6 min3

Methane is produced by bacteria in landfills, therefore reducing waste/ garbage volume through recycling leads to a far lower demand for landfill space, and subsequently reduces the amount of methane produced. Also, effectively managing landfills and capturing the methane produced for energy production is a step in the right direction. Lastly, lowering individual consumption of meat reduces demand for rearing large animal herds that produce methane. There are some ways in which citizens could help to reduce greenhouse gases, by:

a. Lowering Electrical ConsumptionCitizens need to be informed and educated about the impact of their electrical consumption. Education could begin at the primary school level, while the general population could be informed through flyers, pamphlets and newspapers.

b. Recycling - An island-wide recycling programme should be gradually established by setting up drop-off stations for recyclable materials, preferably at large supermarkets or shopping malls. This should

3 US Environmental Protection Agency EPA (http://www.

be accompanied by an education campaign on the reduction of electricity consumption. The materials must be classified as Plastics, Metals (Alu/Tin/other metals), Paper, Cardboard, or Glass. However, special drop off boxes have to be established for batteries of all sorts since they contain high levels of heavy metals and greatly endanger the ground water and environment in general. In addition, every establishment selling any type of battery should be obligated to be a drop-off point for used batteries, which would then be sent to facilities worldwide for proper recycling. All organic materials should be separated at households and placed in garbage drums, which will be collected regularly and taken to special facilities to be transformed into electricity and compost through anaerobic digestion.

An efficiently implemented island-wide recycle programme has a number of advantages:

• It will reduce landfill demand -in an optimal scenario, about 70% of Municipal Solid Waste can be recycled.

• Increase employment since an island-wide recycling porgramme needs workers.

• Increase revenue for the economy since all recycled material (with the exception of a few electronics such as CRT monitors) will be sold on the world market, thus generating additional income to pay for the recycling programme and leaving a profit for the state.

• Increase energy security by producing methane/electricity locally since the bio mass anaerobic digestion facility will produce electricity locally.

T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 53
Trinidad and Tobago is “the second highest per capita producer of greenhouse emissions after Qatar”, and the “second highest producer per unit of GDP,”
Stefan Lechner is a specialist consultant in Recycling and Alternative Energy.

The Children’s Ark

Protecting the Vulnerable

The Children’s Ark is organized by a handful of dedicated persons committed to helping children at risk. The key quality of these individuals and the group is the determination and willingness to act wherever they perceive a need. In Trinidad and Tobago, they “seek to improve the lives and living conditions of our nation’s marginalized children; whether challenged, underprivileged, abused, abandoned, addicted or otherwise.”

Simone de la Bastide, President of the board of the Ark holds the conviction that privilege, position or status imposes further responsibility: it’s not just what you are able to do, but you have a duty to do. These principles have guided de la Bastide over two decades to initiate not one, but two charitable organizations. In 1998, she founded WAND, Women in Action for the Needy and Destitute, which was awarded the Medal for the Development of Women (Gold) at the national Independence Awards in 2014.

After she resigned from WAND, she invited a group of distinguished persons and established the Children’s Ark in October 2013. The Ark comprises a former Chief Justice and President of the Caribbean Court of Justice, lawyers, judges, a former First Lady of Trinidad and Tobago, doctors and business people. Its patron is the President of Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency Anthony Carmona, who has endorsed the work of the Ark: “There is no nobler cause than the one being pursued by The Children’s Ark. There can be no stronger symbol than The Ark. The Ark would push society to bear witness to its humanity by our actions rather than our glorious words.”

Friends of the Ark

There is an extended arm called Friends of the Ark: corporate citizens including bank managers, media personnel, lawyers, an army reserve captain, doctors and business people, who volunteer time, talent or resources as needed. Sellier & Co, Scrip-J, Monster Media web design and Hyatt Hotel, have supported The Children’s Ark from inception.

The Ark operates with regular monthly board meetings to discuss projects, fundraising and other activities. All members of the board are professionals with their own networks and support groups. De la Bastide brings her previous experience in administration and procurement to the organization. The Ark however is light on structure, but heavily dependent on the negotiation skills and goodwill of friends and corporate society. She says, “We have an accountant who keeps our books to ensure that we can account properly for all contributions. Not a cent goes to overheads. We are accountable and transparent.”

The journey

The journey of the Children’s Ark over its first two years has been deliberate and purposeful, keenly aware of the needs that exist especially among those who live hidden from the obvious paths of social services. They believe that the authorities ought to do more to put themselves in the way of finding these children; but the Ark does not wait for help to arrive.

Acting in response to stories of physically challenged children who are being abused by the public, Friend of the Ark, Alyssa Achong-Low brought the need for safe transportation to the attention of the Ark. The result was the donation of a 30-seater bus to Goodwill Industries. Diamond Motors gave a generous deduction off the cost; a significant waiver of duties and taxes was approved by the Government and the balance provided by another generous supporter. In early March, the bus was used to transport board members of the Ark to Tabaquite, to hand over a three-

54 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015
CSR Features
Children who benefitted from a new home

bedroom house to the Subero family. The family of seven, with five school age children, had been living in a shack. Through the efforts of police officer Kimraj Ramlochan, the Ark coordinated and financed the construction of the house for the family. Friend of the Ark, Fianna Lalla and other members have also donated books and other household items for the family,

Everyone matters

Cases come to the Ark through board members, contributors or Friends. For example, a businessman, Vinod, had an interest in upgrading the facilities of the MK home for abandoned children in east Trinidad. This home was established 35 years ago by a nun who took in abandoned, abused or orphaned children. Today, there are over thirty children who reside at the MK Home.

The Children’s Ark helped improve their living arrangements and provided a new ceiling. This was a combined effort with Vinod who provided labour and significant upgrade to the home. He subsequently employed some of the older children, providing mentorship. There is always an engagement with the recipients. In the case of the MK home, the Ark initiated talks with the Children’s Authority to upgrade the operations and administrative structure. It is hoped that through the Authority, the Home would receive further assistance and guidance.

The Ark has been providing educational material for the Each One Teach One pre-school run by Wayne Jordan in the Beetham Estate. Jordan’s school has been in existence since 1995 with intake of 50-60 children in pre-school and some adults and challenged persons. Through another Friend of the Ark, Captain Leslie Ann Mohammed, the Army Reserve partnered to complete work on the school. Even with help from concerned citizens, these children face insurmountable challenges in finding their potential. De la Bastide believes that the education ministry should support schools like this.

The Children’s Ark received a request for items including medical kits, sports items, life jackets, water purification systems and communication equipment from Healing With Horses (HWH) in

Buccoo, Tobago. This organization uses horses to provide non-verbal affection and bonding with differently-abled children of all backgrounds, aged 6 –12. The remarkable programme used by HWH works for children with autism and physical or mental challenges. There are also physical benefits from horseback riding.

One never knows where help is going to come from. When Kathy Ann Waterman came to interview De la Bastide, she was recruited as a board member. Through Kathy Ann, the Ark came to Debbie Jacob’s Prison Reading Project. Her book Wishing for Wings is an account of the persons she met as students in the prison system. The Ark has provided books and is participating in a project that will see imprisoned fathers reading to their visiting children.

T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 55
A house donated to the Subero family Board members with Excellencies President Anthony Carmona and Mrs. Carmona

The Ark also assists CKFTO (Caribbean Kids and Families Therapy Organization) by providing equipment to children’s therapy. CKFTO focuses on the promotion of fine motor, perceptual, cognitive and developmental skills in children with various levels of special needs and learning differences.

Batting for Children

In October 2014, the Ark hosted its first fund-raiser. “Batting for Children” was a luncheon with Caribbean cricketing greats offering some precious artifacts for auction. Under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, the event was attended by Sir Gary Sobers, Brian Lara, Dwight Yorke, Darren Ganga, Roger Gibbon, Larry Gomes and Bryan Davis. Shaka Hislop, national footballer and currently a moderator with ESPN sent this greeting:

“Though I was never much of a batsman back in my own cricket days, I would have gladly taken to the crease in ‘Batting for Children.’ Thank you and continued success to The Children’s Ark, as you continue to be a beacon to those who need you most. God’s speed to the youths who benefit from the organization, you remain our country’s brightest lights. Keep shining.”

There is an extended arm called Friends of the Ark: corporate citizens including bank managers, media personnel, lawyers, an army reserve captain, doctors and business people, who volunteer time, talent or resources as needed.

Through Friend of the Ark, Dhisha Moorjani, the Ark partnered with Miss Universe Trinidad and Tobago as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme. The partnership was launched over Christmas 2014 at the Beetham preschool. Also at the Beetham, Daren Ganga Foundation partnered with the Ark to host a series of sports’ clinics for young people.

With more than 50 children’s homes in Trinidad and Tobago, all efforts must be made to reach the neediest cases and it’s up to citizens to make the difference. Recent updates on the UN Convention to the Rights of the Child recognize that the responsibility to ensure that children reach their full potential falls to all members of society - within the family, in schools and in communities.


Simone de la Bastide, President

Kathy Ann Waterman, Vice President

Carol-Lyn Hart, Secretary

April Bermudez, Treasurer

Michael de la Bastide

Vicki Assevero Mottley

Gillian Lucky

Dr. Kongsheik Achong-Low

Dr. Jean Ramjohn-Richards

Danny Montano


Dhisha Moorjani

Fianna Lalla

Heather Doughlin

Alyssa Achong Low

Francesca Hawkins

Ira Mathur

Sandra Paul

Genevieve Dillon

Capt. Leslie Ann Mohammed

Karyn Boocock

Jillian Hernandez

Nadia Juman

Susan Maingot

Roslyn Carrington

Dr. Hillary Lee Cazabon

56 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015
Cricketing greats - “Batting for Children”
Wayne Jordan, President and Vice President of the Children’s Ark and Captain Leslie Ann Mohammed, Beetham Preschool


One year after the United Nations was established, UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) came into being in December 1946. Through its initiatives, governments around the world came to agreement on the rights of children (under 18) everywhere to be treated as persons albeit with special considerations aimed at developing the full potential of the individual.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child declares that every child is entitled to:

• A safe and healthy life;

• Education;

• Identity – from birth to a name, nationality and the right to know and be care for by his/ her parents;

• Protection from harmful labour;

• Family;

• Special protection in wartime;

• Form an opinion and have access to information;

• Protection from abuse;

• Special care if disabled;

• Protection from discrimination.

Despite the acceptance of these rights almost universally, there are children in almost every country who suffer from poverty, homelessness, abuse, neglect, preventable diseases, unequal access to education and justice systems that do not recognize their special needs. It is not enough for governments to commit to these principles. The responsibility falls to all members of society to ensure that the Rights of the Child are observed by everyone - within the family, in schools and in every institution where children are the focus.



The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago has been established by an Act of Parliament to promote the welfare, care and protection of all children in Trinidad and Tobago, to safeguard children from all forms of abuse and neglect; and to provide care and protection for those who may be particularly vulnerable or at risk.


Interested in developing your voice as a more effective communication tool?

Could you use some assistance in adding more impact to your presentations and speeches?

You know you have something to say, we can help you say it.

Inkings offers

• Voice coaching and training workshops in presentation skills and public speaking for your specific needs.

• Customised Training and Coaching to help you express yourself and communicate at your best, whether for day-to-day purposes, to improve your presentation skills or in preparation for a keynote event.

• Media training.

Our services have been utilised by persons in politics, diplomats and business executives as well as rising employees in marketing and self-employed individuals. Clients include public and private sector organizations, small business operators and Non Governmental Organizations.

Thinking of developing a radio programme or feature and want high quality production? We can also help you with that.

Inkings: professional training and facilitation services by Garfield and Barbara King | Tel: (868) 646-3158, (868) 774-0965, (868) 383-9888 | |

T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 57

Building Bridges with the Arts

Out of kidnapping trauma, TallMan soars high

TallMan Foundation seeks to make connections, to heal divisions, to close the gaps across a society that appears to be growing more fractured between the “haves” and “have nots.” Young people become disenfranchised and lose their way. There’s healing power in the arts, affirms Michele Jodhan and the crew at TallMan.

Nine years since TallMan was inaugurated and seven since its registration, sees founder/director Michele Jodhan pondering about strategies to keep it sustainable. She is currently engaged in revitalizing the mandate of TallMan Foundation and the challenge has brought her to reflection and introspection.

How does TallMan measure success? Is it only in numbers – the 25 to 40 young persons who participate in any given year? Or is it to be assessed based on something more: the development of talent and employability which may not be easily identifiable in the strengthening of civil society?

The answers are not easy, admits Jodhan. Nor was the genesis of the Foundation. In 2003, her son Yves was kidnapped. He describes being protected during the ordeal through the intervention of one gang member nicknamed Tallman. The family was able to come to terms with this experience which could have ended in tragedy, through much soul-searching.

Jodhan says she had been touched by the story of one family’s response to their tragedy. Amy Biehl was a student and anti-apartheid activist in South Africa who was murdered by black Cape Town residents in 1993. After her death, her parents set up the Amy Biehl Foundation

Trust to develop and empower youth in the townships. Her murderers were pardoned in the Truth and Reconciliation process.

“I didn’t want anyone to take away our love for our country, and I decided that this was a reasonable – even necessary - response: to heal the divisions in the society; to make connections and to bridge the gaps that seem to be widening.”

Looking around for a start, she was asked by Bishop Jason Gordon, then parish priest of the Holy Rosary and St. Martin de Porres Cluster to provide equipment for a photography club. Within a year, Jodhan decided to become personally involved; to expand the club that was housed in an annex of the St. Martin de Porres church whose parish spans upper Belmont and Laventille, the areas known as Lower Gonzales and Upper Gonzales. The TallMan Foundation partnership began with the church-based organization Community Intervention for Transformation of Youth (CITY) which

evolved under the directorship of Fr Clyde Harvey into CIT+E (Community Intervention for Transformation and Empowerment) and is now housed in a building across the street from the church.

Why TallMan? “It’s such a Trinidadian thing. We never call anybody by their given names. It’s always Fatboy, or Mangohead. TallMan is indigenous, authentic, symbolic and neutral. It can represent us all,” said Jodhan.

Stand Tall

The Foundation would imbue the name TallMan with inspirational attributes. “Stand tall; reach further; see beyond” became their watchwords. The TallMan Foundation works to deliver the mandate of “supporting the creative potential of the youth of Trinidad & Tobago, to give them opportunities to stand tall, reach further, build bridges and see beyondusing the vehicle of the Arts.”

In the last nine years, the investment in a photography club has evolved to

58 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015
CSR Features

offer opportunities in performance workshops with 3 Canal; in art with the artists in the Alice Yard Collaborative; in dance and drama with Elle NYTT, Lilliput; music with the Holistic Music School and the Marionettes.

Under Wendell Manwarren, a TallMan Performing Group is being shaped. Talent developed through TallMan has been exposed in every 3 Canal show since 2006. TallMan Talk was devised as a way to bring all the talent together on a weekly basis, for a session of socializing, talking, networking and personal development so each individual could identify his own voice.

Reach Further

Now the Foundation is at a plateau striving for the next leap forward: to become self-sustaining.

The structure of the TallMan Foundation supports the primary activities: recruiting young persons between 15 and 25 and placing them into the workshops. The streams of development are based on what might already be available in the community. The weekly schedule of workshops on offer might look like this:

Vocals: Queen’s Park Savannah – Saturday, 12.00 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Music: Cascade – Tuesday, 5.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.

Videography: Gonzales – Tuesday, 4.30 p.m. to 6pm

Performance: Woodbrook – Monday, 6.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.

Photography: Gonzales – Tuesday, 5.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.

Drama: Woodbrook – Saturday, 3.00 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.

Modern Dance: Cascade – Tuesday, 7.30 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.

Dancehall Dance: Cascade – Wednesday, 6.30p.m. to 7.30 p.m.

Hip Hop Dance: Cascade – Wednesday, 7.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.

Latin Dance: Cascade – Thursday, 6.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.

Although applicants are received from anywhere, priority is given to those from East Port of Spain who have the talent, the financial need and can commit to a minimum of one year in the programme. The maximum stay is three years. Candidates are nominated by NGOs, schools, community groups or TallMan associates. An internal committee approves the selection of candidates.

The application process is fairly simple. Criteria and the call for candidates may be found on the TallMan Foundation website:

Once they are accepted in the programme, candidates ought to attend at least 80% of the workshop sessions. Mentors who may be volunteers are available during the periods of workshop sessions to support the apprentices in their training.

T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 59
“I didn’t want anyone to take away our love for our country, and I decided that this was a reasonable – even necessary - response: to heal the divisions in the society; to make connections and to bridge the gaps that seem to be widening.”

All TALLent – as the trainees or apprentices are called in the Foundation - is supported by a close-knit and communicating network to optimise their options. For example, they may be given first preference to intern in 3 Canal’s workshops or concerts. TallMan apprentices are made aware of all opportunities; to become administrators, programme/stage managers, or event coordinators. They are exposed to and mentored through a network of art and artist-led initiatives that complement their areas of focus.

The ability to work, create and experience creativity in an environment such as this, strengthens their sense of community and self. The Foundation aims to foster not just artistic expression, but independence, self -worth and confidence.

See Beyond

After they leave the programme, and even while they are still enrolled, TALLent will be supported for their future endeavors. Through Tallman’s networks, they are likely to be referred for jobs in creative fields, internships, and recommended wherever possible. They are part of the TallMan family and eligible to be invited to teach workshops or produce exhibitions. AtTallMan, the candidate who expresses a desire to give back to the community through the Arts stands taller.

TallMan now employs three persons –administrative coordinator, recruitment/ programme coordinator, student coordinator - and has a volunteer base to draw upon.

The cost of supporting a student in a workshop for a year is estimated at $4000. So far, the Foundation has been selffunding. However, the corporate sector may yet be invited to provide grants that would support individual students. Jodhan’s fund-raising volunteers work together on an annual event that usually has a fun theme. In the past there was Mix and Mingle and Wine and Lime. Their current fund-raiser is Cocktails and Corn Soup. Jodhan is looking for a pan-themed event for next year.

She smiles as she remembers a sublime moment with Starlift steelband on Ariapita Avenue last Carnival. It’s j’ouvert that is closest to the essence of who we are, she says. It’s j’ouvert that provides this possibility of entering into yourself. This is the soul that TallMan Foundation is tapping into: down to earth, rooted in rhythm and fellowship, a space to lose yourself in order to find yourself; communal and equitable, careful of people and resources, capable of trusting the “other” in the society.

60 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015
n n n n n n
62 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015


Name: Ansa Mcal Group of Companies

Address: Head Office, 11th Floor Tatil Building, 11 Maraval Road, Port of Spain

Contact: Ms. Sharon Balroop

Position: Manager, Corporate Communications

Phone: (868) 625-3670/ (868) 624-8753



Name: Angostura Group of Companies

Address: Corner Eastern Main Road and Trinity Avenue, Laventille

Contact: Ms. Giselle Laronde-West

Position: Senior Manager, Public Affairs & Communications

Phone: (868) 623-1841 Ext. 257; (Fax) (868)-623-1847



Name: Arcelor Mittal Point Lisas Ltd.

Address: Mediterranean Drive (P.O. Bag 473) Point Lisas Industrial Estate, Couva

Contact: Liesl Julien

Position: Communications Specialist

Phone: (868) 636-8066; (Fax) (868) 636-5791



Name: Atlantic (ALNG)

Address: Princes Court, Cor. Keate and Pembroke Streets, Port of Spain

Contact: Ms. Camille Salandy

Position: Head of Sustaining & Corporate Operations

Phone: (868) 624-2916; (Fax) (868) 624-8057



Name: BG Trinidad & Tobago

Address: 5 St. Clair Avenue, Port of Spain

Contact: Mr. Leslie Bowrin

Position: Head, Social Performance

Phone: (868) 628-0888; (Fax) (868) 622-6520



Name: BHP Billiton Trinidad &Tobago

Address: Invaders Bay Tower, Audrey Jeffers Highway, Port of Spain

Contact: Ms. Carla Noel-Mendez

Position: External Affairs/Community Manager, TTPU

Phone: (868) 821-5146 (Fax) (868) 635-9255



Name: BP Trinidad & Tobago LLC

Address: 5-5a Queen’s Park West, Port of Spain

Contact: Ronda Francis

Position: Manager, Corporate Responsibility

Phone: (868) 623-2862



Name: Blink|B-Mobile (TSTT)

Address: TSTT House, 1 Edward Street, Port of Spain

Contact: Ms. Anjanie Ramesar Soom

Position: Manager, Corporate & Community Affairs

Phone: (868) 624-5703; (Fax) (868) 623-3836



Name: Blue Waters

Address: #2 Orange Grove Estate, Trincity

Contact: Pradeep Suvrin

Position: Sales & Marketing Manager

Phone: (868) 640-8824; (868) 289-8824



Name: Carib Glassworks Ltd.

Address: Eastern Main Road, Champs Fleurs

Contact: David Hadeed

Position: Marketing Manager

Phone: (868) 662-2231



Name: Caribbean Airlines Ltd.

Address: Piarco International Airport, Piarco

Contact: Ms. Alicia Cabrera

Position: Senior Marketing Manager

Phone: (868) 669-3000 Ext. 2992; (Fax) (868) 669-1520



Name: Centrica T&T Limited

Address: Eleven Albion, Corner Albion and Dare Street, Port of Spain

Contact: Mr. Ko Jacobs

Position: Country Manager

Phone: (868) 821-700



T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 63 Directory

Name: Citibank (Trinidad & Tobago) Limited

Address: 12 Queen’s Park East, Port of Spain

Contact: Ms. Lesley Taylor-Gouveia

Position: Public Affairs Officer

Phone: (868) 625-1040 Ext. 6906



Name: CL Financial Group

Address: 29 St. Vincent Street, Port of Spain

Contact: Ms. Crystal Lapope-Bradshaw

Position: Senior HR Officer

Phone: (868) 625-4444, Ext. 1217



Name: Colonial Life Insurance Company (Trinidad) Limited

Address: 29 St. Vincent Street, Port of Spain

Contact: Mr. Gerard Barnes

Position: Senior Manager, Corporate Communications

Phone: (868) 625-4444 Ext. 1530; (Fax) (868) 625-4440 Ext 1621



Name: Columbus Communications Trinidad Ltd. (FLOW)

Address: 29 Victoria Square, Port of Spain

Contact: Ms. Monique Mata

Position: Corporate Social Performance Specialist

Phone: (868) 224-2348



Name: Courts/UNICOMER (Trinidad) Ltd

Address: 22 Mulchan Suchan Road, Chaguanas

Contact: Ms. Bhano Surujbally

Position: Marketing Unit

Phone: (868) 672-7577; ext. 2317; (Fax) (868) 672-1984



Name: Dansteel Ltd.

Address: South Trunk Road, La Romain

Contact: Mr. B. John

Position: Marketing Manager

Phone: (868)- 627-8335; (868) 623-6731


Name: Digicel Trinidad & Tobago Ltd

Address: Ansa Centre, 11C Maraval Road, Port of Spain

Contact: Penny Gomez

Position: Corporate Communications Manager

Phone: (868) 355-5508



Name: Direct TV Trinidad Limited

Address: 31 Mulchan Seuchan Road, Chaguanas

Contact: Ms. Tamara Ragoonath

Position: Marketing Manager

Phone: (868) 672-8111 Ext. 1410



Name: EOG Resources Trinidad Ltd.

Address: 10-12 Sweet Briar Road, St. Clair

Contact: Ms. Lisa Steele Pujadas

Position: Mgr. Corporate Communications & External Affairs

Phone: (868) 622-8653 Ext. 25652



Name: First Citizens Bank

Address: 2nd Floor, DHL Building, Cor. Churchill Roosevelt Highway & El Socorro Extension Road, El Socorro

Contact: Ms. Jennifer Armstrong Khan

Position: Senior Communications Officer

Phone: (868) 623-4778 Ext. 5857



Name: Flavorite Foods

Address: 128 Boundary Road, San Juan, PO Box 597, POS

Contact: Keenon Roper

Position: Marketing Manager

Phone: (868) 638-2236/7, 2221



Name: HCL Group of Companies

Address: Long Circular Mall, Long Circular Road, St. James

Contact: Mr. Colin Carty

Position: Marketing Manager

Phone: (868) 622-4925; (Fax) (868) 628-7156



64 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015

Name: Happi Products

Address: 82 Bamboo Settlement #2, Valsayn

Contact: Brent Salick

Position: General Manager

Phone: (868) 645-5040, 645-5041, 645-5365



Name: Hilton Trinidad Hotel & Conference Centre

Address: 18 Lady Young Road, Belmont

Contact: Ms. Darlene McDonald

Position: Director, Sales and Marketing

Phone: (868) 624-3211 Ext. 6210



Name: Hyatt Regency Hotel

Address: 1 Wrightson Road, Port of Spain

Contact: Ms. Neemah Persad-Celestine

Position: Marketing Manager

Phone: (868) 623-2222 Ext. 6467; (Fax) (868) 821-6401



Name: IBM World Trade Corporation

Address: 91-93 St. Vincent Street, Port of Spain

Contact: Ms. Seiske Roberts

Position: Manager of Human Resources & Brand Services

Phone: (868) 624-5110 Ext (9) 6153; (Fax) (868) 625-6971



Name: K C Confectionery

Address: 95-97 Southern Main Road, Couva

Contact: Ms. Sharon Shah

Position: HR Manager

Phone: (868) 636-2360 ext. 229/3061



Name: Kenson Group of Companies

Address: 24 Imrie Street, 64-70 &72-74 Lady Hailes Avenue, San Fernando

Contact: Ms. Nikeda Baker

Position: Human Resources Manager

Phone: (868) 657-2457; (868) 652-0095; (Fax) (868) 652-5906



Name: Maritime Financial Group

Address: Maritime Centre, 29th Tenth Avenue, Barataria

Contact: Ms. Mika Ella Tang

Position: Marketing Coordinator

Phone: (868) 674-0130; (Fax) (868) 638-6663



Name: Methanex Trinidad Ltd.

Address: Maracaibo Drive, Pt. Lisas Industrial Estate, Couva

Contact: Ms. Debra Samaru

Position: Manager, Public Affairs

Phone: (868) 679-4400; (Fax) (868) 679-2400



Name: National Flour Mills Ltd.

Address: 27-29 Wrightson Road, Port of Spain

Contact: Ms. Cheryl Lee Kong

Position: Marketing Manager

Phone: (868) 625-2416



Name: The National Gas Company

Address: Orinoco Drive, Point Lisas Industrial Estate, Couva

Contact: Ms. Christine Punnett

Position: Head, External Communications

Phone: (868) 636-4662; (Fax) (868) 679-2384



Name: National Lotteries Control Board

Address: 119-121 Duke Street, Port of Spain

Contact: Ms. Amryl Rivers Rodriguez

Position: Marketing & Public Relations Officer

Phone: (868) 623-1831; (Fax) (868) 627-8030


Name: Neal & Massy Group of Companies

Address: Level 1, Uptown Mall, Edward Street

Contact: Ms. Candace Ali

Position: Group Communication Officer

Phone: (868) 625-3426; (Fax) (868) 627-9061



Name: Nestle Trinidad & Tobago Ltd.

Address: Church Roosevelt Highway, Valsayn

Contact: Ms. Denise D’Abadie

Position: Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility

Phone: (868) 663-6832; (Fax) (868) 663-6840



T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 65

Name: Oscar Francois Ltd.

Address: 133-135 Duke Street, Port of Spain

Contact: Ms. Jackie Francois

Position: Chief Executive Officer

Phone: (868) 225-1635



Name: Pan American Life Insurance (formerly ALGICO)

Address: 91-93 St. Vincent Street, Port of Spain

Contact: Ms. Cheryl-Ann Jordan

Position: VP, Human Resources

Phone: (868) 625-4426 ext. 3081



Name: Petroleum Company of T&T (Petrotrin) Ltd.

Address: #31 Casuarina Ave, Pointe-a-Pierre

Contact: Ms. Gillian Friday

Position: Manager, Corporate Communications

Phone: (868) 658-4200 Ext. 2026; (Fax) (868) 658-3775



Name: Phoenix Park Gas Processors Ltd. (PPGPL)

Address: Rio Grande Dr, Point Lisas Industrial Estate

Contact: Ms. Joann Salazar

Position: VP, Strategy & Corporate Services

Phone: (868) 636-1522; (868) 636-1529; (Fax) (868) 638-6810



Name: Power Generation Company of T&T (Powergen) Ltd.

Address: 6a Queen’s Park West

Contact: Ms. Sonya Lequay

Position: Communications Manager

Phone: (868) 624-0383; (Fax) (868) 625-0983



Name: Repsol T&T Ltd.

Address: Repsol Tower, 4 Queen’s Park West, Port of Spain

Contact: Ms. Heidi Diquez

Position: Mgr. Corporate Communications & External Affairs

Phone: (868) 623-2244; (868) 623-1770; Fax) (868) 627-2753



Name: RBTT Financial (Caribbean) Limited

Address: St. Clair Place, 7-9 St. Clair Avenue, Port of Spain

Contact: Ms. Anna-Maria Kurbanali

Position: Senior Manager Brand and CSR

Phone: (868) 623 1322; (868) 624 7288



Name: Republic Bank Limited

Address: 9-17 Park Street, Port of Spain

Contact: Ms. Tisha Lee

Position: Group Corporate Communications Manager

Phone: (868) 625-4411; (868) 625-4425



Name: S.C.G International Limited

Address: #5 Keate Street, Port of Spain

Contact: Ms. Ray Pan

Position: Marketing Manager

Phone: (868) 625- 7388/ (868) 780- 8252

Fax: (868) 623- 4056



Name: Sagicor Life Inc. (Trinidad & Tobago)

Address: 16 Queen’s Park West, Port of Spain

Contact: Ms. Marlene Chin

Position: Manager, Corporate Communications

Phone: (868) 628-2652; (868) 624-4754



Name: Scotiabank Trinidad & Tobago Ltd.

Address: 56-58 Richmond Street, Port of Spain

Contact: Ms. Heidi Batson

Position: Marketing Manager

Phone: (868) 627-2684; (868) 625-3566; (Fax) (868) 627-5278



Name: Shell LNG Trinidad and Tobago Ltd.

Address: New India Assurance Building, 2nd Floor, 6A Victoria Avenue, Port of Spain

Contact: Mr. Mark Regis

Position: Communications Manager

Phone: (868) 679-6193, (868) 679-5796; (Fax) (868) 222-3707



66 T&T CSR REVIEW 2015

Name: SM Jaleel & Company Limited

Address: Otaheite Industrial Estate, South Oropouche

Contact: Mr. Roger Bertely

Position: VP, Human Resources

Phone: (868) 677-7520; (868) 677-7523; (Fax) (868) 677-7825



Name: Telecommunications Services of Trinidad & Tobago (TSTT)

Address: 52 Jerningham Avenue, Belmont

Contact: Ms. Camile Campbell

Position: Marketing Officer

Phone: (868) 624-8788; (868) 800-2255



Name: Trinidad Cement Ltd.

Address: Southern Main Road, Claxton Bay

Contact: Ms. Maria Lewis

Position: Community Relations Officer

Phone: (868) 659-2381



Name: Trinidad & Tobago National Petroleum Company (NP)

Address: Sea Lots, Port of Spain

Contact: Ms. Rae Kelly Gilbert

Position: Manager, Corporate Communications

Phone: (868) 625-1364



Name: Trinidad & Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC)

Address: 63 Frederick Street, Port of Spain

Contact: Ms. Annabelle Brasnell

Position: Corporate Communications Manager

Phone: (868) 623-6291; (Fax) (868) 624-3724



Name: Trinidad & Tobago Postal Corporation (TT Post)

Address: Golden Grove Road, Piarco

Contact: Mr. Ryan David

Position: Business Development Manager

Phone: (868) 669-5361/ (868) 800-7678



Name: Trinidad & Tobago Unit Trust Corporation (UTC)

Address: 82 Independence Square, Port of Spain

Contact: Mr. Rory Rostant

Position: Assistant VP, Marketing Communications

Phone: (868) 625-8648



Name: Unilever Caribbean Ltd.

Address: Eastern Main Road, Champs Fleurs

Contact: Ms. Helen Julien

Position: Administrative Assistant, HR Department

Phone: (868) 663-1787 Ext. 2205; (Fax) (868) 662-1780



Name: West Indian Tobacco Company (WITCO)

Address: Eastern Main Road, Champs Fleurs

Contact: Josiane Khan

Position: Corporate & Legal Services

Phone: (868) 662-2271/72



Name: Water & Sewerage Authority (WASA)

Address: Eastern Main Road, St. Joseph

Contact: Daniel Plenty

Position: Senior Manager

Phone: (868) 662-9272; (868) 223-1000-6



T&T CSR REVIEW 2015 67

Be part of the T&T CSR Review 2015/2016

The TTCSR is widely read and distributed across 200 companies nationally.

Our readership includes members of the CSR network, over 200 local business leaders, local chambers of commerce, Government Ministers and Ministries, NGOs, CBOs and Not-for-Profits, diplomatic missions, local and regional media houses, secondary and university libraries, hotels, restaurants and tea houses - as well as UN and other international organizations in T&T.

Now with on-line distribution through CPRA, we have access to thousands of readers internationally.

Virtually Yours T&T Ltd; #22 Alfredo Street, Woodbrook, POS Phone/Fax 1.868.623.3892 . Email:
The Corporate Huddle® Creative Collaborative Comprehensive Innovative Inspiring Intelligent #22 Alfredo Street, Woodbrook, Port of Spain, Trinidad The Corporate Huddle® T. +1 868 623 3892 (TT & Caribbean) T. +1 787 994 6743 (USA) T. +44 782 449 8447 (UK/Europe/Africa) After-Hours: +1 868 687 3318 Fax: 1 868 625 1376 TTHUDDLE The TT Corporate Huddle Single-Source Integrated Communications
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.