Energy Conference, 2020

This year’s Energy conference theme was ‘Shaping the Caribbean’s Energy Future’. Presentations from key players within the sector highlighted concerns and perspectives for strategic decisions.

While the future is bright regionally and globally, there are significant challenges with the Caribbean that needs to be addressed urgently.

The focus from keynote speakers this year at the conference were in the areas:

  1. Energy costs, also affected by technological innovations
  2. Climate changes – especially advocated by the youth
  3. Good local content policies and structures
  4. Upskilling  -continuous unlearning and learning, training in the use of technology to solve real world problems
  5. Moving towards a low carbon energy future
  6. Re-establishing the objectives of the Treaty of Chaguaramas in dealing with the issues around energy. Prime Minister Mottley expressed the need for the regional commitment amongst the sovereignty of the nations. Working towards the benefit of all, leveraging expertise.

Engaging Young Talent

The conference also highlighted those companies such as Shell, Atlantic and BHP who have demonstrated their creative approaches to engaging their young talent, harnessing the value that the millennials can bring to the table, especially in the time of digital transformation. Companies continue to demonstrate their continuous efforts and support in giving back to our local communities, which is so important in building a stronger society.

Our Chairman, Angela Lee Loy shared her perspective from the conference and her key takeaway for us as a tech recruitment firm in the Caribbean market was to continue to push boundaries and lead the way in connecting technical people to companies locally and internationally.

Caribbean Integration is needed

The address from the Hon. Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados particularly resonated with us. “She was brilliant on pushing the focus on Caribbean integration and supporting each other through collaboration. After all, we are all small nations but collectively we have greater bargaining power and able to leverage on each other’s strengths across the Caribbean region particularly when it comes to renewable energy,” said Angela.

Going forward, our General Manager Mariska Seereeram shared, “With the increased focus on renewable energy, stakeholders are focused on re-training and developing the digital skills required to transition through this change. This shift in focus is what CRS has pushed for the last five years in encouraging and sourcing talent in the tech sector. We continue to pitch to companies the top IT talent that join our database locally, regionally and internationally.”

View pictures and full address by Dr .the Hon. Keith Rowley at the conference here via the Energy Chamber

This morning our General Manager, Shinelle Padmore, attended the T&T Chamber’s Post Budget 2020 Analysis at The Hyatt Regency. The Minister of Finance, Colmn Imbert, painted an optimistic picture for the T&T economy. He indicated that since assuming office his administration had increased revenue by US$11bn, reduced expenditure by 20%, and had moved the economy from a position of 3% economic decline to 0%. Minister Imbert said that he expects growth for the future.  He said T&T’s non-energy sector had steadily grown over the last ten years and currently contributes 60% of GDP. He was optimistic about the future of the Oil & Gas Sector, highlighting BHP Billiton’s recent oil discovery which is expected to contribute to a 25% increase in national production in two years’ time.  The Minister also highlighted Shell’s increased investment in T&T with an expected rise in gas production. Minister Imbert was unconcerned about our nation’s current debt to GDP ratio saying that 62% was below the targeted ratio of 65%, and the current level of debt, which is being supported by external financing, is facilitating increased spending in needed areas.

Wade George, Chairman-elect of EY Caribbean, highlighted areas for concern and presented solutions. His concerns included the current debt to GDP ratio of 62% and the high levels of transfers and subsidies that dominate national expenditure. Our country’s deteriorating ranking for ease of doing business, and foreign exchange issues. His solutions included the transformation of the economy through a digitalized tax administration system using a mobile app, which will eliminate the need to file tax returns and facilitate better, real-time, revenue collection.  Wade George also suggested that through national consensus we should develop a plan to reduce the fiscal deficit and formulate an economic diversification strategy, as well as a plan to address the overvalued TT dollar.

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


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!