LINKAGE Q2 (2023) - CATAPULT
American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM T&T) recently
held its 30th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Business
Forum on June 16, 2023, where Stuart Franco, Chief Executive Officer at
Trinidad Systems Limited (The TSL Group), was appointed the new President.
the 17th President in the organisation’s thirty-one-year
history, Franco replaced outgoing President, Caroline Toni Sirju-Ramnarine, who
served a two-year term from 2021 to 2023.
who began his career at TSL in 2003 as a Sales
became the youngest member of TSL’s Board of Directors, having been appointed
Executive Vice President in 2011. During his tenure at TSL, he achieved an
impressive track record of high-quality salesmanship, showed tremendous care
for his clients, and brought significant success to TSL despite the challenging
environment of the last few years.
his inaugural speech, Franco expressed his deepest appreciation for the trust
placed in him by the organisation’s approximately three hundred member companies. “Your confidence in my ability
is not taken lightly, and I am committed to leading this Chamber with
integrity, transparency, and a relentless drive for progress which has been
embedded in me during my twenty years at Trinidad Systems Limited.”
says his plans will include building bridges and finding solutions to support
business growth that will unleash the full, dynamic potential of the country.
“I make no apologies for saying that business has a huge role to play in realising
that dynamism,” Franco said.
must find more effective mechanisms for public-private partnerships. We must
take a closer look at the areas where business can support the government’s objectives
and the desires of our people for better service delivery of public goods to
see where collaboration can lead to improved results.”
this regard, the newly appointed President spoke on the issues of crime, customs
reform, and developing the tech sector where he believes increased
collaboration can yield significant success.
said AMCHAM T&T as a part of the Joint Chambers, which also include the
Energy Chamber, the TTCIC, and the TTMA, put out a statement in late December
stating that addressing rising, violent crime has to be the number one priority
of the government. “In that statement and in every subsequent communication,
publicly and privately, we have offered our support and indicated our
willingness to collaborate with the police service and the government more
broadly in the context of a clearly articulated plan.”
an organisation, we are reiterating the need for clear, targeted, coordinated,
and collaborative actions to urgently address and reduce crime,” Franco said.
“I believe we can all agree that crime is badly affecting confidence in our
economy and discouraging a significant portion of potential investment.
we seek to enhance the culture of collaboration, we do not want to put out a
list of things that we believe need to be done. Instead, we would like to work
with the government and the TTPS to develop a mechanism of continuous
engagement to support the very clear and specific goal of reducing crime and
then work on all the inputs and measures – the immediate actions and the longer-term
solutions – that will allow us to achieve this common objective.”
says AMCHAM T&T is looking forward to discussing this further with the
Honourable Prime Minister and members of the Cabinet and the Commissioner of
Police and her Senior Leadership.
the issue of customs reform, Franco cites the difficulties in conducting trade
due to the long wait times for clearance and associated inflated costs that are
negatively impacting business confidence. “Challenges at the borders are making
it much more difficult and costly to do business. While delays and increased
costs are affecting businesses of every size, small businesses that can’t
afford large inventories, are being hit the hardest.”
AMCHAM President says he is heartened by a recent meeting with the Minister of
Finance on this issue and looks forward to working with the government, customs,
and the organisation’s members to find urgent, sustainable solutions to conduct
trade more efficiently while simultaneously protecting the nation’s borders.
also said AMCHAM T&T would be doubling down on its efforts to develop the
tech sector in Trinidad and Tobago. “It is critical that we map out the plans
to establish policies that strengthen ICT skills development and education so
that we can create the critical mass of people with required tech-related
skills to sustain the digital economy we are building,” Franco said.
the next year, we intend to roll out some skills-development programmes as we
seek to do our part to address this issue and hope to be able to make a major
announcement in this regard at the 5th Annual Tech Hub Islands Summit in a
couple of weeks.”
applauded the work of the TTIFC to develop the FinTech sector with which AMCHAM
will seek further collaboration based on a framework outlined in a recently
executed MoU signed between both organisations.
also expressed his content with some of the initiatives outlined by the
Ministry of Digital Transformation especially the consultation offered to
AMCHAM T&T for members to have a stronger voice on the country’s digital
is the second senior executive from the TSL Group to be appointed President of
AMCHAM T&T, following Nicholas Galt (Chairman of the Board at TSL), who
served in the position from 2004 to 2006 and was later appointed as Chairman of
the Association of American Chambers of Commerce of Latin America (AACCLA) in
the 30th Annual General Meeting (AGM), AMCHAM T&T elected the following
Board of Directors for the term 2023–2025.
Stuart Franco – Chief Executive Officer (The TSL
Anna Henderson – Chief Executive Officer (Amaranth
Business Solutions Limited)
Angélique Parisot-Potter – Executive VP and
General Counsel (MASSY)
Stéphane Picarle – General Manager Commercial
(Shell Trinidad and Tobago Limited)
Tricia De La Rosa – VP, AML/ATF and Compliance
(Scotiabank Trinidad & Tobago Limited)
Gregory Hill – Managing Director (ANSA Merchant
Caroline Toni Sirju-Ramnarine – Vice President,
Corporate Operations and Transformation (Atlantic LNG)
Giselle Thompson – VP Corporate Operations (BP
Trinidad and Tobago)
Mitchell De Silva – Citi Country Officer –
T&T Hub (Citibank (Trinidad & Tobago) Limited)
Andrea Davis – Country Manager (DHL Express
Trinidad and Tobago Ltd.)
Patricia Ghany – Chief Financial Officer (Esau
Oilfield Supplies Co. Ltd.)
Glenn Hamel-Smith – Partner & Head - Banking
& Finance (M. Hamel-Smith & Co.)
Simon Aqui – Country Leader (IBM Trinidad and Tobago)
Greer Quan – Chief Executive Officer – Caribbean
(Pan-American Life Insurance Group)
Dominic Rampersad – President (Phoenix Park Gas
Krishen Ramdeen – Managing Director of Corporate
and Shared Services (Proman Trinidad and Tobago)
Her Excellency Ms Candace A. Bond – U.S.
Ambassador to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (U.S. Embassy Trinidad &
Nirad Tewarie – Chief Executive Officer (AMCHAM
AMCHAM T&T’s 30th Annual General Meeting was
sponsored by Platinum Sponsors: eZone Logistics; Export - Import Bank of
Trinidad & Tobago Ltd. and Silver Sponsors: Atlantic LNG; and EOG Resources