Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed members of the American Chamber of Commerce, distinguished colleagues, and friends:
Good morning, and welcome to the 27th annual AMCHAM T&T’s Health, Safety, Security, and Environment conference.
It’s so special for me to join you all today since the U.S. Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago has such a special relationship with the AMCHAM. The first major event I hosted at my residence was for the Amcham membership in January, and since then, we’ve partnered on important issues and shared some amazing times, such as the July visit of seven members of Congress, including my close friend and democratic leader of the house Hakeem Jeffries.
Today, I’m excited about the work ahead of us as we kick off this crucial event dedicated to promoting safety, well-being, and sustainability across all industries. It’s important that I commend Amcham T&T on its achievement in this area. It didn’t take long after my arrival in Trinidad and Tobago to see that AMCHAM T&T is a leader and pioneer. Convening this conference that makes our work and our lives safer and more secure in so many ways is only one example of how AMCHAM T&T has led on key issues that impact the ease of doing business.
I want to address a few areas where the topics of this conference reinforce U.S. policy priorities in Trinidad and Tobago, but before that, it’s important to keep in mind that across all of these topics, one thing we can always take for granted is that the world is constantly evolving. This means that each of us, and our organizations, must adapt, innovate, and prioritize the well-being of our workers, our communities, and our planet. It means that our commitment to health, safety, security, and the environment is not just a regulatory requirement – it's a moral obligation. It's an investment in our future, and it's an essential part of the culture we strive to build within our organizations.
In the areas of health, safety, and security, my embassy’s work with the government of Trinidad and Tobago and with other organizations recognizes that our ties, shared hemisphere, and common values mean that the health, safety, and security of Trinbagonian citizens affects the health, safety, and security of U.S. citizens, and the reverse is also true. It is why we worked hard to deliver COVID-19 vaccines as the pandemic impacted our people and our economies.
It’s also why through our security assistance and cooperation, we work tirelessly to support a safer and more secure Trinidad and Tobago. It's not unique to Trinidad and Tobago that corruption and crime raise the cost of doing business and impact the ability to attract foreign investment.
I applaud the efforts pioneered by Amcham TT, such as establishing its rule of law committee and joining with other chambers and representatives of the private sector to support the government’s efforts to address crime and corruption. A key objective for our embassy is more effective, democratic, and accountable government institutions, and it's just one more area where we are aligned in creating the conditions that make Trinidad and Tobago an attractive place for the foreign capital that we all know is critical to both spurring economic growth and delivering on the government’s efforts at economic diversification.
If some things are always true, I want to go back to my earlier mention of the truth that the world is constantly changing. Here, I must recognize the AmCham for taking on one of those areas of change by expanding the cybersecurity segment of this conference. There is no question that digital transformation and innovation are essential for free market competition. We have all seen how digital tools help traditional businesses grow, stay connected, and compete around the world. These tools change and evolve rapidly, so we also know that as industries strive to keep up with rapid technological changes, cybersecurity policies need to be integrated into the decisions that organizations make to succeed and thrive.
Technological advancements improve our everyday lives, enable social inclusion, improve access to government services, and can advance the overall well-being of society. But to truly harness technologies’ transformative potential, it is important that we also confront cyber threats and take measures that ensure the safety of our data and our customers’ information.
The United States is committed to working with the government of Trinidad and Tobago and with you, our partners, and friends in the private sector, to support a dynamic and more secure digital and telecommunications infrastructure. This includes support for trusted supplier diversity that increases market competition, enhances supply chain resilience, and contributes to lower operating costs for mobile network operators and consumers.
Next, I’d like to share a few thoughts on one of the subjects that is nearest and dearest to my heart and is also one of the Biden-Harris administration’s key areas of collaboration with Caribbean countries: the environment. Specifically, since its launch at the Ninth Summit of the Americas in June 2022, the U.S.-Caribbean partnership to address the climate crisis 2030, or pacc2030, has catalyzed U.S.-Caribbean cooperation to address the climate crisis and enhance the Caribbean’s energy security. Activities under pacc2030 include improving access to development financing, facilitating clean energy project development and investment, food security enhancing local capacity building, and deepening collaboration with our Caribbean partners.
We all know that Trinidad and Tobago has an important role to play not only in Caribbean energy security but in global energy markets. I can assure everyone here today that the U.S. government recognizes and welcomes Trinidad and Tobago’s leadership on these critical issues, and that we remain your trusted partner in accelerating an energy transition that mitigates the worst impacts of climate change and provides opportunities for our citizens.
Today, we gather as a community of forward-thinkers, innovators, and change-makers. We recognize that the health and safety of our employees is non-negotiable, that security is paramount, and that protecting our environment is not just a trend, but a necessity.
In our quest for excellence, we must remember that progress is not a one-size-fits-all formula. Each industry, each company, and each individual represented here has a unique role to play. Our diversity is our strength, and through collaboration and shared knowledge, we can build a safer, more secure, and environmentally responsible future for all.
Throughout this conference, we'll explore the latest trends, best practices, and cutting-edge technologies that are revolutionizing how we approach health, safety, security, and the environment. We'll hear from experts who have pioneered new solutions, learn from their experiences, and apply these insights within our own organizations.
Moreover, this event is not just about information-sharing; it's about building lasting connections. I encourage each of you to take full advantage of this opportunity to network, engage in meaningful discussions, and form partnerships that can drive progress.
Remember, safety and sustainability are not isolated concepts; they're interconnected. A safer workplace is often a more productive one. A secure environment is a stable foundation for growth. And a commitment to environmental responsibility can lead to long-term success.
So, as we embark on this journey over the next few days, let's keep our minds open, our questions flowing, and our spirits high. Let's aim not only to meet industry standards but to exceed them, to innovate, and to lead by example.
Thank you for being here, for contributing your expertise, and for being part of the solution. Together, we can make a difference, drive change, and ensure a safer, more secure, and environmentally responsible future for all.
Thank you to my good friends Nirad and Stuart for the invitation to join you all today!