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Key role for T&T in regional integration

Published: 
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
President Weekes tells Oxford Business Group
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Photo by:Suzanne Sheppard

As a country with a well-developed economy, T&T is not only ideally placed to strengthen regional integration, but has a duty to do so, the President Paula-Mae Weekes told Oxford Business Group (OBG).

Commenting in a wide-ranging interview she gave recently to the global research and consultancy company, President Weekes said the region’s island states would reap greater rewards from working together as a bloc than as individual countries.

“For historical reasons, T&T has traditionally positioned itself as a leader in the region due to a higher degree of economic development. When you are in that type of position, you have a responsibility to move things forward,” she said. “Trinidad and Tobago should be constantly looking for opportunities to cement regional associations to ensure that things move smoothly.”

The full interview with President Weekes will appear in The Report: Trinidad and Tobago 2018, OBG’s forthcoming report on the country’s investment opportunities and economic development.

Asked about the role she’d like to see women play in T&T’s structural transformation process, the president highlighted the valuable skillset that many wives and mothers acquire from multitasking in their daily lives.

“Running a country is not that different from running a household; there is a budget, urgent needs that need prioritising, and one must do one’s best to satisfy all the members of the household,” she noted.

“I think women must now take the opportunity to achieve gender balance in all aspects of life. When all else is equal, women in positions of authority should look to put other women in posts of high responsibility in order to accomplish some sort of equivalence.”

In the interview, President Weekes also acknowledged that tensions related to factional differences had escalated and now risked playing against the interests and the general development of the country if left unaddressed.

“We seem to have started catering to differences in the country, so that people who would have lived together harmoniously before no longer do so. Ethnic terminology has become bitter and acrimonious – unnecessarily so,” she said.

“I do not think that we can get away from the role that politics has played in that division. Therefore, politicians have a role to play in fixing this problem.”

The Report: Trinidad and Tobago 2018 will be a vital guide to the many facets of the country, including its macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments.

The publication will contain a detailed, sector-by-sector guide for investors, alongside contributions from leading personalities, including William Warren Smith, president of the Caribbean Development Bank, and Luis Alberto Moreno, president, Inter-American Development Bank.

It will be produced with PwC and Ansa Merchant Bank. It will be available in print and online.

—Oxford Business Group is a global research and consultancy company with a presence in over 30 countries, from the Americas, Asia and Africa to the Middle East. A distinctive and respected provider of on-the-ground intelligence on many of the world’s fastest growing markets, OBG offers comprehensive and accurate analysis of macroeconomic and sectoral developments, including banking, capital markets, tourism, energy, construction, transport, industry and ICT.

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