HSSE 2021 Conference Launch - Opening Remarks by Melissa Pierre (Senior Trade & Policy Specialist - AMCHAM T&T)

Good morning everyone and thank you for joining us today.

I am Melissa Pierre, Senior Trade and Policy Specialist of AMCHAM T&T and I have the honour of welcoming you to the launch of our 25th Annual Health, Safety, Security, and the Environment (HSSE) Conference.

I would like to start by extending our condolences and sympathy to the families who have lost a loved one due to COVID-19 over the past year. Indeed this past month has been very difficult for a lot of us and we understand and sympathize with the pain and trauma this virus has unleashed. During times like this, we must support each other and trust that our systems will work for us. So, let us each do our part to help flatten the curve once more and save lives. Let’s follow all of the guidelines and make sure that we each get our vaccine jabs when they become available.

Now, in the midst of all of this pain and tragedy, we are gathered today virtually because we believe it is important to recognize the value of leading with health and safety at the heart of all our operations and in everything we do. Certainly, this moment of crisis and tragedy has pushed us even more into recognizing just how important it is to put individual and societal health and well-being at the center of what we do.

Yes, the past year has been difficult. There has been a great deal of loss, longing and letting go with which to come to terms. Yet, even in the middle of any crisis, the human condition has always leaned towards adapting and leading with resilience. And so, slowly but surely, we took ahold of the new normal instead of letting it take control of our lives. We learned to pivot and thereby introduce new methods of doing things once thought to be familiar or routine. We adapted so we could evolve, and we rethink and we reimagine a world so we could thrive.

That's why today as we seek to celebrate 25 years in HSSE leadership and excellence, the theme "Learn, Evolve, Thrive" is most fitting because not only does it shape the narrative of our experiences over this past year but it defines the story of our journey during these past 25 years of promoting HSSE Excellence and Leadership.

Indeed, achieving a 25-year milestone in anything is worth celebrating because you don’t get to such a place without a lot of hard work, commitment, dedication, and most importantly, support. Championing these issues for the past 25 years would mean very little if we didn’t have people and companies willing to invest in taking care of their employee’s health and keeping them safe while doing everything possible to protect the environment for our communities and citizens. That continuous collaboration and support are the biggest achievement we can boast about from these 25 years and that’s what continues to motivate us on this topic.

I want to say a special thank you to all of the companies who have partnered with us on this journey. Today we have Atlantic LNG as our title sponsor once more. We thank them for the leadership they have shown on this issue over the years. Atlantic has built a solid reputation as one of the world's largest producers of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). We know that this achievement could not have happened had it not been for the commitment they have shown towards putting the health and safety of their people first.

And they are joined by so many other companies who have been doing excellent work in this field. We welcome back our Platinum Sponsors – NGC group of companies, bpTT, and Shell our Gold Sponsors - Nu Iron Unlimited and Point Lisas Nitrogen Limited and our session sponsor- Green Engineering. Every year, they are quick to come on board as sponsors because they work tirelessly to invest in people.

The Conference and Exhibition would not be possible without the support of the hard-working AMCHAM T&T HSE committee - chaired by Cindi Nandlal and vice-chairs Balchan Jadoonanan and Travis Gayah. We thank them for their strong leadership on these important issues.

We have also seen this leadership spill across many industries across every sector over these past 25 years. Companies, big and small, have stepped up to the plate and exceeded our expectations as it relates to cultivating a culture of HSSE leadership and excellence within their respective workplaces. And over this past year, we were proud to see how quickly many of these companies adapted to this new normal and secured the safety of their employees. Whether it was transitioning to remote work or pivoting to new safety systems, providing mental health support or just checking in on their employees to make sure they were coping well during these difficult times, to a large extent, companies made sure they put their people first.

That’s exactly what we are saying about health and safety. Implementing new systems and processes, and enforcing new regulations may do well to reduce risk and prevent hazards or injuries but if the central focus of these new measures isn’t placed on people, then all we are doing is just creating more rules. That doesn’t mean that HSSE policies aren’t supposed to be improved or modified to adjust to new realities or unforeseen risks. Quite the opposite. What we are saying is that to make sure that we are always at the forefront of keeping our people safe, we have to constantly learn from our past mistakes, adapt to the new circumstances and be willing to evolve so that we are always preparing for a new normal even if that may be far away on the horizon. We must also create cultures of trust and collaboration.

That’s the reason we have always said that “promoting HSSE excellence doesn’t just make good business sense, it also saves lives.” That’s why this topic remains so important and relevant to all of us at AMCHAM T&T.

This year’s conference will be 100% virtual again because we are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our speakers and attendees. It also shows how quickly we have been able to adapt and evolve as we embrace the challenges of our present circumstances.

We have an exciting line up of top-notch speakers of international acclaim and recognition joining our local experts who have been spearheading the HSSE revolution in T&T for the past 25 years and beyond. Our conference agenda and topics will once more explore how we are embracing the new trends and concepts that have been transitioning HSSE into a new era.

We started this work a couple of years ago when we included important topics such as Mental Health, Cybersecurity, and issues related to Climate Change on the agenda. Today, we know how important these issues are because it is now our current reality, so the conversations aren’t going to stop. Instead, we are going to advance the conversation so that we start seeing a real change to these important and timely issues affecting our world.

Learning and evolving to thrive meant that we must highlight the most influential and forward-thinking leaders who are leading a new wave of theory and practice that have been elevating the conversations we have been having on HSSE policies and the overall safety culture. This is why last year, we brought you Nippin Anand, Sydney Dekker, and Todd Conklin. Their contributions have revolutionized how we approach safety in the workplace and elevated the conversation we are having around HSSE systems and policies. This year we have more dynamic and exciting speakers joining our lineup. That’s how we learn, evolve, and thrive!

As I said, celebrating 25 years of excellence means that we always looking to stay ahead of the curve! That’s what we have been doing with the Caribbean’s leading HSSE Conference for the past 25 years and that’s what we will continue to do for the next 25 years because as we said, at the heart of HSSE is people. Without protecting the safety of our people, we have nothing for which to thrive.

As I conclude, let me remind you to check out the official 25th Annual Health, Safety, Security and the Environment (HSSE) 2021 Conference Website at www.amchamtt.com. There, you will find all the information about our speakers, sponsors, agenda, sessions, topics, registration details, and much more. We look forward to the support of each of you.

Thank You.

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