Trade Minister meets with TT Chamber’s new Head

5 May, 2021: - Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry held a virtual meeting earlier today with the newly installed President of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce (TTCIC), Mr. Charles Pashley. During the meeting several matters related to supporting the growth and expansion of the local private sector were discussed including:

Combatting Illicit Trade – The Government has embarked on the implementation of a National Action Plan to combat Illicit Trade in Consumer Goods in Trinidad and Tobago. The National Action Plan will be implemented over a one (1) year period and will extend to cover illegal trade in consumer goods such as alcohol, tobacco, cleaning agents and pharmaceuticals in the first instance. The TTCIC is currently a member of the Anti-Illicit Trade Task Force (AITTF) appointed by Cabinet to coordinate and implement initiatives in accordance with the National Action Plan. The Task Force will seek to advance the Government’s policy objective of reducing the incidence of illicit trade in Trinidad and Tobago and the associated negative impact on our local businesses and consumers. It is expected that the TTCIC will actively participate and support the work of the Task Force and in the short term collaborate with the Government to promote and highlight legitimate brands versus counterfeit brands in the market place. The inaugural meeting of the Anti-Illicit Trade Task Force will be held on 15 May, 2021.

Export Booster Initiative (EBI) - The Ministry of Trade and Industry in collaboration with exporTT and the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association recently launched the Export Booster Initiative in Trinidad and in Tobago on February 16 and March 1, 2021 respectively. The TT$50 million Export Booster Initiative for the manufacturing sector aims to promote and increase the export value of specific manufactured goods by ten percent (10%) at the end of the fiscal year 2020/2021 from TT$2.7 billion in 2019 and to double that to TT$5.4 billion by 2024. This initiative is made up of 16 measures under three broad strategic areas including export promotion (accelerating internationalisation), capacity building and institutional strengthening. The TTCIC gave its commitment to work with exporTT to support the initiatives under the Programme.


Parties discussed current policy issues facing local manufacturers and importers regarding Front of Pack Labelling (FOPL).

VAT Refunds

The TTCIC highlighted the need for VAT refunds to be paid on a timely basis to assist firms with their cashflow requirements. The MT undertook to work with the Ministry of Finance in addressing the matter.

During the meeting the Minister Gopee-Scoon took the opportunity to thank corporate Trinidad and Tobago for its outpouring of generous support in assisting St. Vincent and the Grenadines following the eruption of the La Soufriere Volcano. The Minister also urged the TTCIC to continue to observe the Letter and Spirit of the current Public Health Regulations to ensure business sustainability and the health of their employees.


Three Opposition MPs are calling on the Government and the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) to have a heart and stop disconnecting the water supply of errant customers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Barataria/San Juan MP Saddam Hosein yesterday wrote to WASA’s executive director Lennox Sealey urging him to suspend the drive and display humanity as people are suffering and strapped for cash in the pandemic given the lockdowns.

The same UNC people calling on the Government to instruct WASA to hold its hand on debt collection are the same ones who complain in the Parliament and elsewhere that they constituents are not getting water.

“You cannot have it both ways. You cannot have your cake and eat it,” Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales said yesterday, as he responded to calls from several UNC MPs to grant a moratorium on the payment of water rates and stop its disconnection drive during the pandemic because people are under pressure.

Smooth sailing.

Braving inclement weather, Barataria resident Kenneth Campbell, 84, boasted he had gotten his second Sinopharm vaccine at Barataria Health Centre yesterday.

While awaiting his driver, Campbell, father of late forest ranger Keith Campbell (who was killed in the line of duty in 2016), said: “The first vaccine, I got was from a man. I did not feel it. The second vaccine was from a woman, and I felt it. It went well.”

Starting Wednesday and yesterday, he was among thousands of elderly citizens (age 65 and up) who got vaccines under the Health Ministry’s “Triple E System—the Elderly Express Experience.”

Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith is reminding citizens that patrols will be out prior to and during the enforcement of this weekend’s extended curfew.

In a media release issued yesterday, Griffith noted the actions and comments of “social media trained law enforcement experts”, who appeared to be questioning the rationale in implementing roadblocks throughout the country.

Time is critical if you are searching for a missing loved one.

Kelvin Ballantyne had been missing for about three months from his Tobago home before his family members in Trinidad were informed that he had disappeared.

Kelvin, also known as “Redman”, is described by his sister, Cindy Noel, as “one of the most well-known people in Lambeau, and maybe even across the island because of his job as an electrician”.