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PM outline plans to save environment - UNC to go green

With T&T ranked as the number two producer of carbon dioxide emissions per capita, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says plans are already afoot to use solar energy to power all schools, community centres and new Housing Development Corporation (HDC) houses.

However, her promise to transform the country to a green economy can only be realised if her People’s Partnership coalition remains in government after the September 7 general election. 

Speaking at the United National Congress’ Monday Night Forum at the Gasparillo Secondary School, she said the thrust for a cleaner environment already began with the conversion of Public Transportation Service Corporation (PTSC) buses to run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), adding that all Government vehicles will be fitted with CNG tanks. She said their green policy will see the introduction of hybrid and electric vehicles, which will significantly reduce T&T’s carbon emissions by burning less fossil fuel. She added that a Feed In Tariff to encourage reduced energy consumption will be established.

“All primary and secondary schools will be outfitted with solar lighting and solar installation units. This will lower the use of electricity but it will also bring a clean and green T&T. Twenty one secondary schools now have solar lighting and we are planning to go forward with all of our schools.

“We will also have solar power community centres. Already 13 centres have been outfitted with solar lighting and our plans for the green economy is to outfit all. There will be a renewable energy policy and a housing policy where houses being built by the HDC,” she said.

Dubbing it the national energy communication campaign, she said, this in turn will create more sustainable jobs in the services, construction and manufacturing sector, lower the demand for electricity while leaving more natural gas for the export market and provide a cleaner environment to improve citizens’ quality of life. She said this will also improve the country’s international reputation as a leader in sustainable development.

New woman’s hospital

With the Children’s Hospital, in Couva set to open soon, she announced her intention to open the first ever women’s hospital in T&T. However, there is already the Mt Hope Women’s Hospital at Champ Fleurs.

“Never in the history of our nation had we have a state of the art, modern hospital just for the children of T&T. And not only for T&T, that children’s hospital will help out in medical tourism as it will be the first of its kind in the entire region of the Caribbean.

“Very soon we will also open the first ever women’s hospital in T&T because I know you know that health care is very valuable to everyone. To put it in a very simple way, when you’re dead, you can’t enjoy the road, schools and community centres, you can’t enjoy anything.”

Laventille man gunned down in his home

Mere minutes after midnight, a Laventille man was gunned down in his Quarry Street home.

According to police reports, officers received a report of loud explosions coming from a home in Quarry Street some time after midnight.

A party of officers from Besson Street Police Station, the Inter Agency Task Force and the Homicide Bureau of Investigations responded to the scene. 

The officers discovered the bullet riddled body of Jason Manswell lying in a pool of blood. 

Investigations continue.

Angostura Holdings sees growth in brands
Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Angostura Holdings Ltd has posted results from continuing operations of $217.3 million and profit after tax of $153.4 million for 2014. 

Chairman Gerald Yetming said the figures were lower than the $196.2 million and $289 million respectively for 2013 which included non-recurring income of $151.8 million—gains from the settlement of debt and disposal of investments.

He said the group’s 2014 performance featured topline growth of $9 million and efficient management control of operating expenses.

“Our brands continue to grow profitably and the results from the branded business increased by $14.6 million (7.4 per cent) over the prior year despite the many challenges in the domestic market and in some of our international export markets,” Yetming said in his statement to shareholder’s in Angostura’s 2014 annual report.

“Significant capital investment continues to be undertaken as we steadily modernise our plant and ensure a strong asset base to support the needs of our business. Positive cash flows continue to support healthy returns to shareholders, and cash and cash equivalents exceeded total borrowings by $58.6 million at the year end.”

CEO Robert Wong said Angostura’s financial results “continue to demonstrate the strength and appeal of our brands across many markets both local and international.” 

He said reduced operating and financing expenses, together with revenue growth, led to an improvement the group’s results from continuing operations. 

“This measure of core business performance shows steady growth since 2011 despite increasing challenges in domestic and overseas markets in the areas of cost control, competition management and constantly changing consumer taste,” he said.

“Strategies of process and facility improvement along with operating cost and investment management, will ensure continued improvement of the financial results of the company in accordance with our long term objective of sustainable growth.”

Wong said Angostura would continue to focus on new markets as well as growth of existing ones, since this strategy had contributed to the success of the group’s branded business during the year. He said markets in North America, Europe and Australia continued to produce results and renewed focus in Central and South America has been positive. 

He said: “The bitters and rum brands, including bulk rum blends, have been well received in markets such as Chile and Brazil, and prospects for continued growth in other Latin American markets are promising. 

“Exports are growing at an impressive rate and present organic growth potential for the company, to support the domestic trade which continues to generate solid returns despite challenges from a constantly evolving business and legislative environment.” 

Angostura’s annual general meeting takes place July 27 from 10 am at the House of Angostura, Eastern Main Road, Laventille.

Gerald Yetming
T&T boosts business ties with Cuba
Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Although there are some differences in the way Cuba and T&T do business, CEO of the T&T Chamber of Commerce Catherine Kumar says it is important for local businesses and companies to enter that market.

She said initial feedback from the participating companies in the Chamber’s recent fact finding mission to Cuba indicate that there is immediate potential for trade and collaboration.

The T&T mission to Cuba included 17 companies and 20 delegates, along with officials from exporTT. Some of the sectors represented included energy, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage.

Kumar said in Cuba almost all economic sectors are state controlled but in recent times there has been a shift allowing privately owned businesses to function more freely. However, so far this is restricted to hair salons and restaurants.

“As such there is no equivalent private sector as exists in our country and business negotiations primarily take place with state agencies. However, the response from the Cuban agencies has been positive and to ensure that this mission has long term benefits to our members, the T&T Chamber and the Cuban Chamber of Commerce signed a co-operation agreement on June 11, “ she said

The Chamber CEO said the agreement will facilitate a stronger business relationship and support a framework for member companies who wish to do business in Cuba. She gave the example of state run supermarkets with limited variety and the potential where they is an opportunity for T&T businesses to supply a range of products.

“We found potential for collaboration and trade. In the food and beverage sector the Government run supermarkets are stocked with limited variety. This coupled with Cuba’s growing tourism industry means that there is demand for food and beverage and other household items like canned food products, dry goods, dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, toilet paper and alcoholic beverages,” Kumar said.

She warned, however, that there are problems with distribution networks in Cuba which are more focused on price than brand awareness. 

“The latter is usually important to our manufacturers who invest heavily in marketing and brand awareness. As such, potential T&T exporters will have to hire a private brand activation manager which translates into initial higher costs but which should pay off via higher sales in the medium term,” she said.

One of the participants in the T&T mission, Charles Carvalho, CEO of Carvalho Travel Agencies, urged local companies to look at the long term future as Cuba continues to open up its economy.

While T&T has long enjoyed diplomatic ties with Cuba, improved relations between that Caribbean nation and the United States have increased prospects for a range of economic activities. More trade and travel between the two countries provide opportunities for investment and new markets for a range of industries in the region.

First Secretary in the Cuban Embassy in T&T Alex Confales Garcia, left, speaks with T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce CEO Catherine Kumar following a media briefing on a recent fact finding mission to Cuba yesterday at the Chamber’s offices in Westmorrings. With them are ExporTT CEO Dwight Brown, second from left, and TDC trade facilitation office representative Jude Carasquero. PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
More questions for Hamel Smith
Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I am quite perplexed and disappointed after reading the interview conducted by your Clevon Raphael with Mr T Hamel- Smith and published in (Sunday) Guardian.

I went through the piece hoping to find a few answers to some important questions which must be foremost in the mind of the electorate but instead ended up agape.These include;

Why did Mr. Hamel - Smith leave the COP?

Why did he publicly endorse the Prime Minister on a political platform and a few days later launch a party which seems at odds with the very government she upholds?

Will he still hold on to the position as the person appointed to implement procumbent legislation?

How did he deal with the unsavory issues raised now while being President of the Senate?

Could he have continued with the PP to achieve the main aim and objective of the new party as enunciated for, "demanding implementation of procumbent legislation, introduction of proper party financing and campaigning legislation and having an electoral system that's fair and is non-discriminatory"?

Alt Daniel

St Joseph

Shame on you, Jack
Tuesday, July 7, 2015

As I live and breathe, is there no end to the drivel that spews out of the mouth of Jack Warner? I refer to media reports that he will deal with the President of T&T in the fullness of time and alluding that he is a one-term president.

Mr Warner in any country, but Trinidad & Tobago, you would have been arrested and charged for the obvious disdain and disrespect meted out by him to His Excellency.

How low can Mr Warner go to allude that he will deal with His Excellency in the fullness of time? Is he attempting to say to the nation that he also has incriminating files and recordings on His Excellency? Is he suggesting that the President has committed questionable or unlawful acts?

Shame on you Mr Warner, your attempts at suggesting that everyone in this country, including His Excellency, is suspect and dubious in nature; is simply ludicrous. The shamelessness of Mr Warner knows no bounds.

It would appear that Mr Warner is a master at dodging bullets, simply by redirecting focus and scrutiny to everyone other than himself. 

Shanti Ramdass


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