Monday, June 10, 2013

T&T to invest $833M for Business and Industrial parks across T&T

PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar
Trinidad and Tobago is investing $833 million to develop seven Business/ Commercial and Industrial parks across the country within the next two years.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar made the announcement Monday in a speech at the formal opening of the Caribbean Investment Forum.

She said the money will come from the financial assistance promised by
President Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China during his recent state visit.

"We will be building seven such parks on 592.1 acres of land representing an investment of TT$833 million," she said. "The leasable space on the estates would be 355.7 acres. This would give an immediate boost to our country’s economic activity. We can do this within the next two years instead of waiting for this expansion."

She also said that China is also showing great interest in collaboration in the development of the country's maritime industry.

"I am pleased to also announce that following our discussions with the People’s Republic of China we have already had an expression of interest from one prestigious Chinese ship and dry docking company that wishes to partner with us for the development of this activity as part of our maritime industry," Persad-Bissessar said.

She also spoke about the MOU with the United States Department of Energy to establish a Renewable Energy Research Centre at one of the country's university campuses.

She noted that the centre, which would promote the rapid deployment of critical technologies for renewable energies for T&T and the wider Caribbean, would provide opportunities for partnerships. She said renewable energy is an integral part of government’s plans to diversify the economy.

The Caribbean Investment Forum (CIF) is an innovative business exposition launched by the present government three years ago to bring investors and government together to encourage collaboration between the private and public sectors.

She said her Government sees its role as a facilitator of business and the creator of opportunities for the business sector rather than a competitor with the private sector.

One feature for this year's CIF is a Public-Private Partnership symposium sponsored by the governments of Trinidad and Tobago and Canada.

Key speakers at this seminar include representatives from the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships, Export Development Canada, the Canadian Commercial Corporation, the Canadian International Development Agency, the Inter-American Development Bank and the International Finance Corporation.

Each of them will share strategic guidelines and best practice in the field of P3 projects.

"My government is particularly interested in this P3 discussion because we believe the private sector must become a key partner in the economic recovery and sustainability of our country, as we pursue our overarching goal of improving the quality of life and ensuring prosperity for all our citizens," the Prime Minister said.

Persad-Bissessar said moving forward in today's interconnected world requires risk taking and thinking outside of the box. She noted that in order to create a “more diversified, knowledge intensive economy” the government has established the Economic Development Board and the Council for Competitiveness and Innovation.

She also announced that Trinidad and Tobago would host the annual Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) in 2014. T
he objective of the ACF is to facilitate the development of businesses and promote the exchange of ideas and knowledge to enable the countries of the Americas to become more innovative, productive and competitive. 

Persad-Bissesssar said T&T and the CARICOM region have no choice but to work together with the new players in world markets and embrace the rapid developments in ICT and in social media. She said these innovations "have changed the face of the world and continue to change the way we do business now and in the future."

She added, "We must never see change as a threat because it isn’t; change presents new opportunities that we must embrace. That’s how we progress."

Persad-Bissessar said a fatal flaw in many enterprises is the fear or inability to change. "It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change,” she said, quoting Charles Darwin.

"Darwin was talking about the most basic instinct in life – survival. But if you apply his thoughts to the world of business you would conclude that he could just as well have been talking about us in the changing world of the 21st century … because we cannot expect to progress and succeed unless we embrace change," she said.

Persad-Bissessar said the Caribbean is well poised for challenges. "We are an ingenious people; we are a well-educated people. We have political stability and enjoy a democratic system...We must be ready and adapt and change to meet the expectations of those states that want to invest and do business with us. It cannot and must not be business as usual," she said. 

She offered some advice. "We must discover that quality in us that allows each of us to blossom and grow. I believe it was Albert Einstein who said, “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid.” We must embrace the right opportunity … and we’ll succeed!"

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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