Webinar: Navigating The Pandemic - The Usefulness of Risk Management

(Friday, May 8th 2020)


Good Morning everyone and thank you for your participation today. 

Welcome to one of the AMCHAM T&T webinars. I am Nirad Tewarie, CEO of AMCHAM T&T and it is indeed a pleasure to welcome you to this webinar. I would like to say a special thanks to Melissa Pierre, who has been working with the HSE Committee to make this Webinar happen.

We have done quite a few of these webinars since our first on March 16th. It is one of the ways we at AMCHAM T&T aim to provide value to our members. These webinars continue our advocacy positions as well as provide information to assist you in making decisions, in what are truly unprecedented times.

Today’s session is different from the other sessions that we have had in the past. We have chosen the topic “The Usefulness of Risk Management” to provide vital information and additional resources that will help each of us to navigate our lives and businesses through this pandemic. Normally, this would have been a topic featured prominently at our annual HSSE Conference and Exhibition, but some would say, these aren’t normal times. So we are happy to have the expert speakers deliver presentations on this topic today.

We understand that many companies are struggling to cope in these times due to the major disruptions caused by the response measures to stop the spread of the virus in the absence of a vaccine.

We wonder, how many times in the past couple of weeks we have asked the question: what more could we have done to limit some of the effects on our businesses? Or could we have prepared for this?

And while this is not the time to play the blame game or the ‘what-if’ scenarios. Even Nassim Taleb – author of the Black Swan – is on record as saying that COVID-19 is not a Black Swan event as it was entirely predictable, yet many of us were almost totally unprepared to respond to it. So, we knew it was coming. We just didn’t know when and how.

So the reality is that this virus is going to be with us for some time, at least in the immediate future, but we also have to find a safe and responsible way to ensure that we can conduct and operate business during these challenging times. And, we also have to allow this pandemic to act as a teachable moment that shows us where we fell short in preparing for it and how we can do better – not just as businesses but also as societies. How can we do better as societies and how can business contribute to that better society that will emerge hopefully out of this pandemic?

So, we must come together and start developing practical solutions – if we haven't done so before – that will start looking more closely into our crisis management plans and business continuity plans, and interactions with employees and customers as we move to what everyone is calling the new normal.

We know that there are many associated risks to business that are impacted by COVID-19, for example: Reputation risks, Supply Chain risks, Health & Safety, Cyber and Fraud risks, to name a few, so it’s important that companies continue to invest more towards improving their risk landscape that is changing every day because of this pandemic. We may have to perform more new risk assessments and continually adjust control measures to contain those new or heightened risks which are often interconnected. It may simply mean performing a better job of trying to anticipate what we can’t anticipate.

If the impact of COVID-19 on business has taught us one thing is that we cannot wait for our annual ERM (Enterprise Risk Management) updates or audit plans before we act. We have to ensure that these risks are on management's radar now to allow your teams to take these into consideration when making decisions and for management to be cognizant of the importance of proper risk assessment and planning. The agility of our compliance programs will help us to quickly identify and respond to new risks which will ultimately determine our survival as well as the survival of the organization.

But we continue to not panic. What has been truly amazing in these times, in spite of the many disruptions to our lives, is how fast people around the world have quickly made adjustments to their lives and to work. Of course, a lot of that is attributable to the advances made, and our access to technology. But it is still our ability to adapt, even in the most challenging times, that has helped us to survive and thrive.

In this situation, as it relates to business, we just have to start identifying and accessing those risks and ensuring that there are sufficient control measures put in place that will elicit the least amount of disruptions to our lives and livelihood.

As I close, I just want to add that even whilst we recognise the limitations posed on us by COVID-19, AMCHAM T&T has never been an organization to sit back and relax and wait for things to return to normal. As a matter of fact, no one can tell us with any certainty when that would be, so we cannot wait. Just to be clear, we operate within the law at all times, however, we embraced the need to change and recognised we need to innovate and continue to deliver a higher standard of value to you. We are ably assisted in this by the BOD and our committees- so special thank you to the BOD and the committees, especially HSE committee logged on today- this session would not be possible without your support and expertise. 

I hope you would appreciate that the session today is small to allow for maximum participation and networking. Our feature speaker, Mr. Nippin Anand has assured us that he will stay online as long as you have questions to be able to respond to them. So whilst you won't be able to sit with him at lunch at Hyatt (like you would have had at the Conference), you are able to interact with him more in this forum. We also want to thank Col. Lyle E. Alexander for taking the time out to be with us today and we look forward to his presentation. 

AMCHAM has continued to reach out to you to find out if we can assist in any way possible, and we have been pushing the private sector agenda forward on your behalf. We are thankful for the robust suggestions you have given us in our surveys.

In closing, I want to reiterate, AMCHAM is here to support you. We are open to initiatives and ideas from you, so just simply reach out to us. If you have suggestions for webinars- topics or speakers let us know. 

Thank you.

Webinar: Navigating The Pandemic - Cybersecurity