Trinidad’s Trade Minister addresses intellectuals on ‘navigating Caribbean Business in the new global economy’

Challenging the norms in thinking‘ may be the words that best describe the substance and timbre of the Feature Address delivered by Trinidadian Senator Vasant Bharath, the Twin Island’s Trade Minister at the University of the West Indies’ 6th Biennial International Banking and Finance Conference, themed ‘Navigating Caribbean Business in the new global economy‘ at their branch of the Hilton Hotel.

Members of the audience

Members of the audience

In a lengthy discourse, which commenced with the words ‘it is my strong belief that the line that separates the leaders and followers in the new global economy will be drawn on one strength especially – innovation’, the articulate Trade Minister delivered a stirring Address which focused on the areas of the Caribbean environment, regional financial services, the Trinidad and Tobago environment, and the diversification agenda.

Members of the HeadTable

Members of the HeadTable

He made a lucid statement on the challenges facing Caribbean businesses, ‘Our strategies must therefore focus on understanding the nature and cause of risk, finding the weaknesses that are among the first casualties of impact, and shoring up our resilience as nations, and as a region standing together. Our populations combine to create a global resource of tremendous potential in the context of knowledge sharing and competitiveness. Clear areas for collaboration and unifying aspects of economic policies can help to create a larger fiscal space that is stronger to risk and impact, and provides more competitive breadth to compete in the global markets. We must find the points of convergence in our policies that can allow us to combine our expertise and resources in order to achieve higher value outputs. In finding those points of unification, we will also find greater possibilities for supporting and sustaining a new era of innovation.

We must develop ways to achieve the shift from training professionals for jobs, to incubating entrepreneurs for corporate leadership. Tremendous benefits and efficiencies are brought by technology. We must explore how we re-fashion our businesses and industries to shift onto ICT platforms to become visible and active stakeholders in a networked global economy. As a region, we must continue to comprehensively advance training and skills development to provide the world with knowledge capabilities.

We must also be bold enough to consider whether we are at a tipping point where our growth metrics must shift to different indicators. We must find the answers to key questions, such as whether it is good enough for us to assess GDP purely in dollar terms, rather than GDP in human development, people terms.’

Minister Bharath closed with the words 'we will not have our future made for us; we will create the future ourselves'.

Minister Bharath closed with the words ‘we will not have our future made for us; we will create the future ourselves‘.

Other speakers included Professor Clement Sankat, Pro Vice Chancellor and Campus Principal, University of the West Indies; and Dr. Acolla Lewis-Cameron, Head, Department of Management Studies, UWI St Augustine.

Minister Bharath (right) with Professor Clement Sankat, UWI Campus Principal

Minister Bharath (right) with Professor Clement Sankat, UWI Campus Principal

The one-day Conference addressed the issues of ‘global market risks – implications for the Caribbean‘; ‘fund management in a changing interest rate environment’; ‘compliance and regulation’; ‘business ethics – profitability and enlightened self-interest’.

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