by Nirad Tewarie - CEO of AMCHAM T&T


Five years ago, we decided to invest in enhancing the tech sector in Trinidad and Tobago to diversify our economy and create greater opportunities for our citizens. Admittedly, as a country, we are a little behind on our journey, but we are seeing the more and more shoots of hope in the development of the ecosystem. 

The national digital strategy for the digital society, digital government, and digital economy is underway. The fintech ecosystem has been launched to usher in a cashless society. And many businesses are already investing in digital transformation to enhance their operations and remain competitive. So, work has started but we have a long way to go.
Maybe this has something to do with the sense of fear that is pervasive throughout our world today. Whenever anything new is thrown at us, we seem to fear the unknown or fear having difficult conversations with each other. We are never able to overcome our immediate fears to lean into the changes that are set to transform our world. Instead, we fight the speed of progress by denying the changes that are happening even though we know that change is inevitable and constant.

This resistance is nothing new to technology. There have always been long-standing tensions between the need for innovation and the societal pressures to maintain continuity, social order, and stability. But if this is the reason that prevents us from having difficult conversations or engaging with each other or listening attentively, then we are losing the battle. That’s why we must catapult to a future where digital transformation is helping us transform problems into opportunities that bring about real change and progress in our lives.

For this to happen we must ensure our aspirations using technology can bridge the digital divide so that technology can become an enabler and an industry both for export-led growth and better services for citizens and consumers. We must also use technology to enhance the skills and competencies of our human capital in our education system and labour force to build the next generation of tech workers and entrepreneurs.

We must also catapult to a place in our journey where the use of technologies like A.I. Web3, NFTs, Digital Twins, IoT, Cloud Computing, and Machine Learning become the norm of our business strategies to create a world of increased business efficiency while improving quality of life and reducing inequalities and injustices.

That’s why I see no reason why T&T can’t become a creative city-state or why we can't develop and operationalize a digital nomad policy in our digital journey. For any of this to happen, we must start believing more that we can change the system. Indeed, we are the system. Each of us is anode in “the system”. Therefore, it is incumbent on us to make a difference. We must see ourselves as the agent of change and as being able and powerful enough to affect that change to build the Trinidad and Tobago, and I would argue the Caribbean, that we want. 

I hope you continue to share this vision we have for our nation, and I hope the articles in this issue of Linkage will inspire you to make that vision our soon-to-be reality.