Category Archives: Industry Insights

The Annual Trinidad & Tobago Energy Conference and Trade Show concluded today, the theme was Technology: Transforming the Industry.

Presentations and updates from Upstream /Downstream Operators and Service Providers were of the highest calibre, also participation in this year’s conference was at record levels, surpassing attendance for the previous two years.

In his welcoming remarks Eugene Tiah, Chairman of the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago, highlighted the need for regulatory reform and local content to foster growth of our local Energy Services Sector. The Prime Minister (Dr. Keith Rowley) and the Minister of Energy and Energy Industries (Sen. Frank Khan) gave optimistic views of the outlook of our Energy Sector in the near to medium term. Listing contracts with Upstream Operators such as BHP, BPTT, EOG, Shell and DeNovo. And citing statistics on expected gas in 2019 /2020 and beyond.

Panel discussions focused on technology efficiencies dominated conversations. Claire Fitzpatrick, Regional President, BP Trinidad & Tobago indicated that society has a growing preference for cleaner energy, and producing from maturing fields with ageing infrastructure requires investment. Technology is needed to ensure efficient deployment of investment capital. Dereck Hudson, Vice President and Country Chair of Shell Trinidad and Tobago gave an example of how Shell used technology to keep business running at full capacity despite only having 20% of staff situated in a temporary office due to damages sustained during the major earthquake Trinidad and Tobago experienced  in 2018. Vincent Pereria, President of BHP indicated that technology and innovation would give our companies a competitive advantage in the future.

In general Speakers agreed that technology was a disrupter that would determine how T&T could make future possibilities a reality. Business leaders of Upstream Operators gave examples of the new technologies being used for deep water drilling, listing some of the required jobs in a technologically advanced Oil and Gas Sector including Data Scientists and Wind Turbine Technicians as well as the use of machine learning and coding. There was an overall belief that the future of the Energy Sector was one where there was a marriage of hydrocarbon energy, energy efficiency, and renewable resources. To that end a Charter on Energy Efficiency among Trinidad and Tobago’s Upstream and Downstream Companies was initiated.

In his Vote of Thanks Dr. Thackwray Driver, President and CEO of the T&T Energy Chamber indicated that the Chamber was making efforts to balance the score on gender equality in the Sector. The Chamber moved the statistic for female presenters at the Conference from 10% in 2018 to 20% in 2019. This year the Conference had its first “All Female” panel discussion which included Claire Fitzpatrick, Regional President of BPTT, Pria Narinesingh, Country Managing Partner EY, Penelope Bradshaw-Niles, Permanent Secretary (Ag.)  Ministry of Energy & Energy Industries, Siana Teelucksingh, Renewable Energy Consultant, Kristen Ray, Vice President Technology, BHP (Petroleum), and facilitator, Dr. Carla Noel-Mendez, Corporate Affairs Manager, BHP.

This morning I attended AMCHAM Trinidad & Tobago’s session on our Economic Outlook for 2019.

The Keynote Speaker; Professor Gerry Brooks, Chairman of NGC Group of Companies, gave some interesting statistics on Global Economic Growth for 2018 / 2019, which was estimated at 3.7%. He also gave comparative figures of estimated GDP growth for T&T in 2018 of 1.9%. Mr. Brooks said that 2018 was the first time in some years that our economy had returned to growth, citing gas field development and production as the main contributor. He expected the Energy Sector would continue to grow in 2019.

Mr. Brooks also indicated that Non- Energy Sectors were not expected to grow and the rate of decline in these sectors was not expected to change throughout 2019.

He purported that for our economy to continue to grow in 2019 and beyond, there was a need for diversification away from Oil and Gas, a revival of entrepreneurship, and support of the SME Sector. He also said that digitalization was a must, indicating that Government Ministries should invest in data platforms and shared services.

Mr Brooks remarks were the catalyst for a panel discussion,  which included; Patrica Ghanny (President of AMCHAM T&T), Gregory Hill (Managing Director of Ansa Merchant Bank), Ravi Tewari (Group CEO, Guardian Holdings), Garvin Joefield (Manager and Economist at Republic Bank) and Facilitator; Nirad Tewarie (AMCHAM CEO).

This morning I attended the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce’s Post Budget Analysis Meeting at The Banquet and Conference Centre Movie Towne.

Speakers included Mr Anthony Paul, Energy and Strategy Consultant, who showed compelling reasons for the need for diversification of Trinidad and Tobago’s Oil and Gas sector through knowledge and technology transfer from foreign technical experts to locals. He also made the case for increasing local content and boosting exploration activity.

Brian Jahra, Co-Founder and Chairman of CinemaONE Limited put forward a case for enabling greater SME activity in the economy saying that approximately 70% of businesses are SME’s and that good preforming economies have a high percentage of strong performing SMEs.

Wade George, Tax Managing Partner at Ernst & Young said that while this years budget didn’t have a heavy focus on tax he could recommend areas for future improvement.

The Feature Speaker, Finance Minister Colm Imbert, indicated that according to CSO statistics there was 2% real growth in GDP in 2018.

He also said the Manufacturing sector grew by 7% and the Petrochemical by 9%.

The Minister promised to pay VAT refunds over the coming year and hold off on increases to income tax for the next two years. He said that the La Brea Dry Dock Project is expected to provide 13,000 jobs. And the Foreign Exchange Tax Credit incentive will be operational by January 1st 2019.

I look forward to seeing more incentive mechanisms for SMEs and the Non-energy sector in future budgets.

Our Chairman Angela Lee Loy shared a few perspectives as guest speaker to the opening ceremony of Trinidad and Tobago Association of Retired Persons (TTARP) 25th Anniversary today.  To celebrate their milestone, TTARP hosted a two day expo at Centre of Excellence, Macoya.

“We must not underestimate the power and influence of those approaching and in retirement. Many executives are now rethinking what it means to retire” she said.

One of her key points was the contribution retirees make to society in areas such as charitable work with NGOs in mentorship and the time they can give. Another important aspect was their voluntary work and care to their grandchildren. This is crucial for parents, saving the family economy. She highlighted professionals who have retired are making great strides in our country’s development as they offer advisory services and expertise in various industries.

Above all, wisdom comes with age and this age group is able to provide the emotional support and friendship to their networks. She encouraged the next generation to build an inclusive society and appealed to parents to continue to engage their kids to collaborate with elders.

From all of us at CRS, we wish the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Retired Persons a happy 25th anniversary!

The Human Resource Association of Trinidad and Tobago (HRMATT) held its annual HR conference on “Disruptive HR, Leading Your People Through Economic Contraction” at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain in July.

The conference had 4 sessions with key speakers such as Alana Beaubrun, HR Manager at Methanex Trinidad who discussed talent development in challenging times. Alana demonstrated various ways to develop talent at zero cost. One way to develop talent was to allow employees cross functional acting opportunities.

Other areas discussed were people management playing an integral part of businesses’ ability to deliver goods and services to their clients. Effective people management is key to business performance. HR Managers must inform business  strategy by working closely with CEO’s / MD’s to achieve improved business performance,  efficiency and profitability. Especially in the current economic climate.

Another key aspect in these times, is HR practitioners ability to display high levels of emotional intelligence. Businesses can perhaps start employee engagement within the HR team before moving to other areas of the business.

Other key speakers were Richard Dick Soloman on “Redesigning the Organisation for Longevity”, L. Anthony Watkins on “Reframing Engagement” and Francis Wade who spoke about “How to develop an Assertive Blueprint to rescue your company’s productivity.”

 

This month, our free business series will be covering IT Security for your business: How to be cost conscious yet protective of your company data.

Join us: 

June 27th

10am – 11am

Board Room, Aegis Business Solutions

Corner Hosein Drive and Southern Main Road, Chase Village

View Aegis location

RSVP: catherine@crsrecruitment.co.tt

We continue to offer added value to businesses in Trinidad and Tobago in technical recruitment and IT support across industries. CRS offers SMEs the option to gain access to IT support needed for their business by offering IT and design freelancers when needed. Our CRS biz series aims to offer free business advice in technical areas that support business growth and sustainability. Contact us today!

 

CRS held its first Biz event last week Thursday 12, April on “Transitioning Your Business Operations Online”

Non-Executive Director, Susan Hale shared insights on how she moved CRS business to the cloud, saving average $30k per month. This learning is key in today’s marketplace as our session shared insights for SME’s thinking about moving key areas of their business online.

“Susan’s presentation was down to earth, relatable and well received. The attendees were very participative and quite a few of the business owners genuinely needed help with transitioning their operations online.” says General Manager, Shinelle Padmore.

One of the key points highlighted was how to ensure productivity and deliverables are done by staff:

  • Daily Timesheets with start/end times and task descriptions
  • Let staff know that you will validate claims
  • Compare effort vs achievements
  • Regular meetings and online calls
  • Constant feedback
  • Reliable internet

Guests enjoyed an interactive session and gained the opportunity to ask one to one questions with Susan. The event was held at Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services at 18 O’Connor Street, Woodbrook.

For more info for your business and need an I.T freelancer, contact us at info@crsrecruitment.co.tt

Yesterday I attended AMCHAM T&T’s discussion on the 2018 Economic Outlook for Trinidad & Tobago.

Keynote speakers included Ravi Tewari, CEO Guardian Group, Racquel Moses, Country Manager Microsoft, Marla Dukharan, Chief Economist, Bitt inc and Dr. Terrence Farrell, Former Chairman, Economic Development Advisory Board.

Their presentations were of the highest caliber, also the President of AMCHAM; Mitchell De Silva, gave a strong contribution during his opening remarks.

Some of the “take aways” include Mitchell De Silva’s comments on the need for regulatory visibility and enforcement. Ravi Tewari’s inference that T&T’s needs to fix structural problems and that private sector participation is required in the provision of infrastructure. Racquel Moses showed how T&T could become more efficient through digital transformation, citing Estonia’s success story.

Marla Dukharan gave insightful analysis on T&T’s high levels of financial leakage, low fiscal multiplier, coupled with weak institutions. She stated that if we don’t change our modus operandi T&T is likely to end up turning to the IMF by 2021 / 2022. Dr. Farrell echoed Ravi Tewari’s sentiment about the need for structural change, he also suggested that our Government should regularise their accounting standards by adopting IPSAS (International Public Sector Accounting Standards). Dr. Farrell commented on our population’s dependency syndrome and rent seeking behavior, he presented arguments in support of the need for change.

All the presenters shared a common perspective on the need to diversify our economy away from its dependency on the Oil and Gas sector.

 

On  November 8, CRS attended the Launch of Facebook Connect Americas at Hyatt Regency Trinidad. The IDB partnered with Facebook to  create a platform that facilitates business  for SME’s in the Americas.

The idea was to eliminate barriers for SMEs by doing these three things:

  • Providing access to trustworthy clients abroad
  • Access to practical info for international trade
  • Access to financing for SMEs

The entire platform is free, financed by the IDB.

CRS General Manager, Shinelle Padmore says, “Thanks to the IDB and Facebook for coming to Trinidad and Tobago to launch Connect Americas. It is an inexpensive way for Caribbean Resourcing Solutions to have Global reach. We will use this platform to facilitate trade, export, and the sharing of ideas”

Join here

https://connectamericas.com/

Last Friday the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce in collaboration with Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB) provided a forum for stakeholders to have a discussion on Economic Development in Trinidad and Tobago and the Region.

The format was an animated presentation given by Keith Duncan on the Jamaica experience and lessons learned, followed by a panel discussion lead by of Dr. Marlene Attzs (Moderator), Ronald Hinds (President of the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce), Terrence Farrell (Chairman of T&T’s Economic Development Advisory Board), and Keith Duncan (Co-chairman of Jamaica’s Economic Programme Oversight Committee – EPOC).

Keith Duncan gave an overview of Jamaica’s economic woes explaining why they needed to turn to the IMF for funding. His presentation included a statistic driven account of the progress that Jamaica had made over the last year. Duncan highlighted their major priorities for economic growth, which included macro-economic stability, reduction in crime, a debt to GDP ratio of 60%, and maintaining comfortable NIR levels. Duncan indicated that Trinidad and Tobago’s economic position was salvageable; saying that our debt to GDP ratio was more favourable than Jamaica’s. He suggested that we should not wait until our backs were against the wall before choosing to act. Duncan explained that the key to Jamaica’s successful implementation of policies and fiscal measures was ongoing public consultation and community activity, this helped EPOC to gain buy-in from the population. Duncan also mentioned that there was public accountability and transparency for achieving pre-determined targets for economic progress, and the establishment of three independent oversight bodies aided with this – the Economic Growth Council (EGC), the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), and the Public Sector Transformation Oversight Committee (PSTOC).

During Dr. Marlene Attzs’ opening remarks she made reference to Trinidad and Tobago’s current state of Economic Stillness. The panel discussion revolved around overcoming this. Dr. Terrence Farrell gave some compelling arguments for diversifying away from the Oil and Gas Sector. Farrell commented that “Lower for Longer” oil and gas prices, depleting natural gas reserves, and Trinidad’s high oil production price were all signals that our Nation’s dependence on the Energy Sector was not sustainable. Ronald Hinds supported Dr Farrell’s perspective. The discussion continued around the need to adjust our foreign exchange rate and reduce Trinidad and Tobago’s reliance on imports while increasing exports from other sectors. Dr Farrell alluded to seven alternate sectors with seven enablers that could assist in boosting the economy.

Questions and comments were taken from participants across the floor including Marla Dukharan (Chief Economist at Bitt Inc. and former Group Economist at RBC Caribbean), Howard Dottin (Programme Director at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business), as well as a cross section of business leaders from various industries in the Private Sector. The majority of comments were in support of the panelists’ perspective. It is interesting to note that there were no decision makers from Government Ministries in attendance.