Dr Ronald Ramkissoon, former Senior Economist at Republic Bank advises the stakeholders in the services sector that it’s time to demand the kind of environment and changes that would allow it to grow like the energy sector. Dr Ramkissoon said the services sector has great potential and, as a matter of fact, he stated that the services sector, however small compared to the energy sector is the net foreign exchange earner for T&T. Dr Ramkissoon was speaking at the Trinidad & Tobago Coalition of Services Industries’ (TTCSI) Mix n Mingle event, which took place immediately after its official Annual General Meeting on June 10 at Trinidad Hilton Hotel, Port-of-Spain.
He said for several years the country has been speaking about diversification and not much has really been done, so its time that services sector is given the attention it deserves.
As such, he said, “The services sector should demand the kind of environment, programmes and policies that would promote the services sector and one that would contribute to the foreign exchange earnings as much as, or even more than the energy sector.”
He further advised if the government really wants to diversify and grow the services sector, then it should not try to re-invent the wheel, but partner with TTCSI, the main organisation that has been working hard at developing and growing the services sector.
“You cannot find a more diversified group in Trinidad & Tobago than the TTCSI, who wants to take the services sector to the next level and therefore, you really don’t have to re-invent the wheel. I would like to commend TTCSI and all those in the services sector for what they have been doing so far.”
Meanwhile during the AGM, Rabindra Danny Jaggernauth, Immediate Past President of TTCSI made a strong call for better leadership in the country for the sake of the younger generation.
“I am joining the voices that are calling for our leaders…all of our leaders…to take stock and get it right. Keep the big picture in mind and be an example instead of a spectacle. Put the country’s progress before your own enrichment or your party’s power.”
Jaggernauth said he believes there is a crisis of overall leadership in the society and it must be addressed.
He said the country’s vision for advancement is clearer now than ever and our people have always been capable.
However, he noted that time and time again, that forward march has been stymied by the failure of our leaders to stay the course.
“We grew up hearing that “fish does rot from the head”, but few of us, perhaps, expected to see this folk wisdom play out on a national scale. The idea of lawlessness among the people being inspired by executive lawlessness no longer seems simplistic or far-fetched,” he said.
“Our leaders’ actions are slowly but surely costing them their moral authority,” Jaggernauth added.
Drawing on a few examples, he said, forged and ill-gotten academic qualifications must make our schoolchildren question the value of hard-earned education, while corruption, in-fighting, and scandal after public scandal dominate the headlines.
He pointed out that these failings have not only severely diminished the public’s faith in our leaders’ ability to fulfil their responsibility, but the trust has been particularly diminished among the skilled and self-motivated young people, who make up so much of the service sector.
“We are losing some of our most promising young innovators, workers and entrepreneurs to brain drain, apathy and malaise.”
He said it was unfortunate that this descent into lawlessness continues even when, ironically, new laws are introduced.
Notwithstanding this, Jaggernauth said, “I am, however optimistic. As a people we have the capability and history of overcoming diversity.”
On that note he took the opportunity to thank Nirad Tewarie, TTCSI’s CEO for leading the organisation into a strong business support organisation for the services sector for the last five years, as well as making significant in-roads towards the development of the overall services sector.
Tewarie will be leaving TTCSI at the end of June, where he will be assuming his new position as the American Chamber of Commerce of T&T’s CEO.
Elected New Board Members
- Angela Lee Loy-President
- Hollis Charles- Vice president
- Mahindra Satram-Maharaj-Treasurer
- Mark Raymond-Secretary
- Gloria Cynthia Hayes- Director
- Darren Lee Sing-Director
- Lorraine Pouchett-Director
- Roger Salloum- Director