Sunday, April 28, 2013

PM Kamla back home after successful visit to Canada

PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar at a media briefing Friday at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar is back home following a hectic four-day visit to Canada. Her last stop was a visit to the Toronto Sick Kids Hospital. 
Gideon Hanoomansingh accompanied the official delegation.

Read the CANADA-T&T joint statement:

More on the Canada visit - Notes from media briefing by PM in Toronto

  • This is a historic visit and is the first official visit by a Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago to Canada in nearly half a century
  • Canada shares a strong, historic relationship with Trinidad and Tobago as members of the Commonwealth
  • Canada and Trinidad and Tobago celebrated 50 years of diplomatic relations in 2012, a relationship further strengthened by those living in Canada with ties to Trinidad and Tobago
  • There are almost 65,000 Canadian citizens and permanent residents with roots in Trinidad and Tobago, and 6,000 Canadians resident in Trinidad and Tobago
  • Both benefit from and celebrate, and celebrate a rich cultural diversity
  • Both are committed to expanding our trade and economic ties, and making sure that those things benefit and include all of our citizens
  • Advancing trade between Canada and the Caribbean community is a goal both our countries share
  • Both Prime Ministers affirmed the importance of bilateral trade and investment, the centrality of free markets to mutual prosperity, and a keen desire to strengthen the financial, oil and gas and energy sectors
  • Our trade links dated back to the late 19th century when we exchanged west indian rum, spices and molasses for canadian salt fish, among other products
  • The relationship grew in the late 19th century when the presbyterian minister Rev. John morton came to trinidad to set up a canadian mission in Trinidad
Canadian investment in Trinidad and Tobago:
  • Both our countries are blessed with abundant natural resources, particularly in the energy field
  • Trinidad and Tobago is Canada’s second largest trading partner in the Caribbean and both leaders committed to deepening that commercial relationship
  • We measure Canadian investment in Trinidad and Tobago in the billions of dollars (CA$1.3 billion CAN)
  • Annual two-way trade is in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Annual two-way merchandise trade grew by 45 percent between 2005 and 2012, and is now approaching $600 million
InvestTT and ExportTT
  • Accompanied by several members of our business sector, who are interested in either expanding or establishing networking links with their Canadian counterparts
  • InvestTT and ExportTT, two trade organizations developed by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago organized several business to business meetings with their Canadian counterparts
  • A Trade Mission was facilitated in Toronto which is expected to result in mutual business opportunities
  • The Trinidad and Tobago Government identified several priority sectors for development and investment including: 
  1. Information Communications Technology; 
  2. Light Manufacturing; 
  3. Clean technology – which includes renewable and alternative energy; 
  4. Maritime Industries/Logistics; 
  5. The Creative industries – fashion, film, animation, music, carnival arts; 
  6. Tourism 
  7. Agribusiness; and 
  8. ·Financial Services 
We are moving ahead on a platform which emphasises an open economy, with public/private patnerships, as our focus for improving the economic condition of our people, and thereby improving peace and security in our country and in our sub-region


Our economic ties are solid and growing. Canadian companies have dominated the banking sector in Trinidad and Tobago for decades and there have been investments by companies in energy and petrochemicals which now form part of our present day commercial relations. 

  • A CARICOM Private-Public Partnership Seminar co-hosted by Trinidad and Tobago and Canada will be held in Port of Spain later this year
  • The joint seminar is expected to bring together representatives from the government, the private sector, international financial institutions and multilateral development banks from Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, the broader CARICOM and international community to share best practices in this field and how they can be applied further in their jurisdictions
  • In international relations we have been partners through our relationships in the united nations, the commonwealth, the oas and the other emerging regional groupings
  • Both our countries have taken principled positions on matters having to do with international human rights issues, the rule of law and on issue of democracy, peace and security
  • Both leaders expressed their wish to see regional integration and CARICOM reform advanced
  • Affirmed commitment to working together in regional and multilateral fora in pursuit of organizational reform, and respect for shared values
  • Agreed to work together to defend Commonwealth values, including human rights, democracy and the rule of law
  • Committed to strive for a more prosperous, secure and democratic hemisphere, and to identify opportunities to work together more closely in the Organization of American States (OAS) and other hemispheric institutions 
We just published a book by the High Commission in Ottawa of the tremendous contributions several generations of trinidad and tobago citizens have made to canada over much of the last decade that book marked the fifty years of our independence and the 50 years of friendly relations between our two countries,

  • Yesterday (Thursday), together with Prime Minister Harper I welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between our Ministry of National Security and the Canadian Commercial Corporation concerning the development and implementation of projects in the field of defence, security, and related infrastructure
  • The MoU will facilitate closer ties between our two countries, including through the provision by Canadian companies of technology and services to enhance the capacity of defence and security institutions in Trinidad and Tobago
  • We also welcomed the signing of a MoU between the two nations to help Trinidad and Tobago to take on a greater role to provide regional military capacity-building training
  • We were also pleased to announce the appointment of the first Canadian defence attaché accredited to Trinidad and Tobago
  • We also noted that Canada’s Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program is supporting Trinidad and Tobago in modernizing criminal investigations
  • We were also pleased to collaborate to improve the Caribbean region's preparedness and ability to respond effectively to natural disasters by way of Trinidad and Tobago’s participation in the Caribbean Disaster Management Harmonised Implementation Program, which is led by the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency and supported by Canada
  • We have strongly developed relationships in education, with many thousands of families from trinidad and tobago migrating to canada and having been educated here
  • Thousands of students from Trinidad and Tobago have come to Canada to obtain university degrees, and yesterday an agreement was signed that was signed between Brock University and the University of Trinidad and Tobago will expand cooperation between them in many useful areas of endeavour 

Speaking to you as members of a prestigious and influential media organisation in Canada, I can emphasise the fact that freedom of the press is enshrined in our constitution and our people enjoy an environment in which there is robust debate on all issues. This helps to underpin our cherished democratic values.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai