agribusiness high on ministrys agenda
is in response to the August 6 Guardian editorial, Serious
agriculture policy needed.
First of all, the writer referred to the plan by
Trade and Industry Minister Kenneth Valley to get former
sugar workers involved in producing basic food items.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) is responsible
for driving the development of the non-energy manufacturing
and services sectors, and the minister reference to initiatives
concerning agricultural production was in the context
of agribusiness/industrial development as it falls under
the Standing Committee on Business Development (SCBD)
for which MTI acts as the secretariat.
As such, given the context of the discussions, and the
secretariat function of MTI, the minister was not attempting
to assume responsibility for the production of agricultural
commodities but merely sharing general information on
some of the decisions taken towards developing industries
relevant to the Couva/Pt Lisas business and community
Secondly, the SCBD is an advisory committee to Cabinet,
which was established in 2003 by the Prime Minister. The
committee comprises representatives from major private
sector organisations responsible for non-energy sector
business growth and development in T&T, along with
government ministers, state agencies and senior public
officers. Jarrette Narine, Minister of Agriculture, Land
and Marine Resources is also a member of the SCBD.
Its objective is to facilitate the growth and expansion
of industrial activity in the non-energy sector and to
develop a suitable environment for business and investment
in T&T for long-term economic sustainability, a critical
component of the Governments goal of T&T attaining
developed nation status by the year 2020.
As you may be aware, to this end, the SCBD has targeted
for aggressive development, seven industries in which
T&T has enjoyed traditional advantages, and held a
substantial resource base or had the potential for competitive
advantage in the international trading environment. These
are yachting, fish and fish processing, merchant marine,
music and entertainment, film, printing and packaging
and food and beverages.
Indeed, reporters from your newspaper and other media
houses have covered the separate launches of the various
industry strategic plans, which are now all in various
stages of implementation.
And thirdly, in addition to these seven industries, the
committee has also approved the agribusiness development
component of the Agricultural Sector Reform Programme
of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources
which has also identified seven areas for development:
pumpkin, hot pepper, sweet potato, tilapia, cassava, rabbit
and paw paw.
As in the case of these seven industrial and service sectors,
for each of these items, industry development committees
comprising private and public stakeholders developed strategic
plans for ramping up agricultural production, and these
plans will now be forwarded to Cabinet for approval.
The agribusiness development project is designed to assist
in the diversification of the economy, along with re-engineering
the agricultural sector. In particular, it is also focused
on increasing local food crop production and increasing
the level and range of value-added agribusiness products,
which can compete effectively in the export markets.
As you can imagine, the entire agrisector reform programme
is a wide-ranging, comprehensive sector specific redevelopment
exercise which could never be covered in a few simple
Once the entire proposal has received Cabinet approval,
all relevant documentation will be available for public
review and comment.
Corporate Communications Specialist,
Ministry of Trade and Industry
hard and success will follow
and best wishes to all SEA students on your placement
in the examinations.
I especially want to congratulate those who were not placed
in their preferred school, for whatever reason and are
disappointed and crestfallen.
I wish to empathise with those who shed tears of bitter
disappointment and disbelief. Shed your tears and move
on; the future beckons, young ones.
Life is full of disappointments and how we cope with and
face and overcome them is a testimony of our strength,
faith and character. If you were disappointed at your
placement, I want to encourage you to lift your head high
and remember that you are a child of Almighty God, wonderfully
made and full of potential.
You had your dreams before you wrote the SEA examination.
Do not discard them, keep them before you always and work
harder and smarter to achieve them, day by day.
As you enter your new school, keep focused. Dont
get involve in idleness, rather, follow students who work
hard, are well disciplined, respect themselves and others,
are involved in the life of the school and healthy pursuits.
Also make a time-table for home work, revision and stick
to it daily. If you have not been placed in the school
you desired, it is not the end of the line for you.
Remember, success is still within your grasp. Work to
achieve it and make yourselves, friends, teachers and
Problems with insurance firm
servants were recently forced into a compulsory health
plan. I have heard my colleagues complaining about this
plan before but never had cause to be involved until recently.
It appears that as part of the arrangement, the Public
Services Association is the intermediary between the claimant
and the insurance company. I needed to get an urgent letter
from the insurance company for an expensive (at least
for me) medical examination.
As instructed by my doctor, I took an estimate of the
cost of the test to the PSA, expecting that I would get
my letter the same day. I was informed by a clerk that
my request had to go to the company. Trying to save time,
I asked for the address of a branch of the company where
I could take my application.
I almost fell off my chair when I was told that the company
does not deal with the public. Who is this
company that, after taking my $64 every month, will tell
me it does not deal with the public?
I was told to leave the application and that I might get
a reply in a week.
I suppose that after this letter I might get a reply,
sometime before Christmas, saying the company will not
be paying any part of the bill.
So what if we change our hair
READ a letter by Merle Celestine in the August 5 Guardian,
Nothing wrong with kinky hair. That is her
She wants to know why our African women, relax, straighten
and blonde their hair? The answer is simple: it looks
nicer, neater and make them more beautiful.
Secondly, she wants to know why they have children with
other races? Answer: they fall in love and want these
people to be a parent to their kids.
Celestine, get over it and get on with your life, whether
your hair is kinky, straight or otherwise. It is what
we have inside that counts. Our hair and everything else
will be left behind, we take nothing with us.
Political comedy at its best
Here I was thinking that the UNCs so called ceasefire
was meant to represent the start of getting the UNC back
Seems I was wrong, though, because since Pandays
call for civil war, the executive of the UNC has rallied
solidly behind him and are now using every public forum
to stroke this political failures ego.
Oh well, it wont be the first time the UNC has lied,
disappointed and reduced itself to nothing more than the
strongest advocates for the PNMs continued hold
on the Government.
Actually, by now, Im accustomed to it.
I just wish they would forewarn us so we could capture
some of the best political comedy on tape.