The Communications Committee has been in existence for more than fifteen years, having first been established under the presidency (1987-1988) of Mr. Joe Pires, Snr. Initially called the Editorial Committee, it was formed so that the Chamber could have a public voice for its opinions on a regular basis.
The Committee’s role is to review and edit the publications of the Chamber, with specific reference, but not limited to, the weekly columns viz, “The Chamber’s Position” in the Business Guardian and “Chamber Perspectives” in the Newsday. A monthly column, “From the Desk of the President”, appears in the Express. These, along with the quarterly “Contact” magazine, represent the main print publications of the Chamber. The Chamber also airs a regular Tuesday weekly radio programme on I95.5FM called “Contact with the Chamber”. The content of this programme reflects and helps to solidify the messages of the print articles.
The Contact Magazine is thematic so that two-thirds of the articles explore the various issues related to the particular theme. Contact is mailed to members of the Chamber and also distributed via the Trinidad Guardian. Complimentary copies are given to Government and the Diplomatic Corps.
The main issues that form the basis for the Chamber’s lobby efforts are largely reflected in its publications and radio programme. Writing on the premise that all issues that affect the national landscape affect business, main themes of articles have included the Economy, Trade, Crime, Education, Health and Poverty.
The Chairman of the Communications Committee is the Chamber’s President, who may delegate the Chairmanship on occasion and includes a strong Board presence. The committees of the Chamber, nominated writers, and the general membership may submit articles of approximately 800 words for review by the committee, which meets fortnightly.
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Committee was established in November 2007 as one of the Chamber’s special focus committees providing support and assistance in areas relevant to its members. The Committee’s mission is to build a platform for learning, advocacy and technical assistance that enables every business to be an active partner in creating a socially and environmentally sustainable Trinidad and Tobago.
Corporate Social Responsibility is a commitment by companies to contribute to sustainable development through working with employees, their families, other organizations, communities, government, and the society at large, to improve the quality of life and the environment in ways that are both good for business and social development.
The Committee’s mandate is to serve the learning needs of its members, as well as to provide advocacy and technical assistance using practical, realistic and adapted approaches that enable these organizations and individuals to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness with which they undertake CSR activities. This approach encompasses working not only with members, but engaging other Chambers, civil society, public sector and international organizations.
The CSR Committee provides members and other stakeholders with access to relevant CSR related course materials to assist in developing an understanding and appreciation of CSR, both conceptually and in practice. This enables members to better incorporate CSR into their organizations and foster more responsible business practices.
The CSR Committee provides a forum for advocacy with key stakeholders to facilitate an enabling environment that encourages private sector investment in CSR related activities.
The CSR Committee is working with its members through outreach forums, workshops and individual meetings to assist in the implementation of CSR activities and initiatives that are strategic in nature, in line with their core business practices and focused towards sustainable development.
CRIME AND JUSTICE COMMITTEE
The Crime and Justice Committee was formed to demonstrate the Chamber’s concern about the escalating crime wave in the country, and to make a concerted effort in whatever way possible in partnership with the Government and other Private Sector organizations to deal with issues, problems and solutions on crime and the Criminal Justice System in Trinidad and Tobago.
The Committee has several active sub-committees dealing with specific areas such as: -
- LEGISLATIVE REFORM
One of the Committee’s mandates is to review proposed and new legislation relevant to crime and the Judicial System.
- ROAD SAFETY SIGNAGE PROJECT
One of the Committee’s major projects was its Road Safety Signage Project. The Committee enlisted the assistance of corporate citizens to sponsor Road Signs e.g. “School and Pedestrian Crossing Signs, School Crossing Zone, pedestrian Signs and Crossings, Road Traffic Signs, No Parking Signs and Road Humps Signs”. This initiative was undertaken in collaboration with 3M Interamerica Inc., (Trinidad and Tobago Division) and the Ministry of Infrastructure Development, which was responsible for the maintenance of the signs, and infrastructural development.
- NEIGHBOURHOOD CRIME WATCH
The Committee’s “Neighbourhood Crime Watch” project was re-launched on May 21, 2002. Neighbourhood Crimewatch is a programme aimed at reducing crime in the community. It involves establishing and maintaining watch groups within the community with the objective of looking out for each others safety, thereby combating crime in a most effective way – before it starts. Neighbourhood Crime Watch provides a means of reducing the opportunities for crime to occur, through the active participation of citizens in crime prevention. Individuals are taught how to:
- Make their homes less inviting as a target for thieves
- Be alert to suspicious activity in their neighbourhoods
- Identify and report a suspicious character or crime to the Police
- CRIME STOPPERS TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
The Chamber is one of the Stakeholders of Crime Stoppers Trinidad and Tobago which is a non-profit community programme designed to combat the heightened levels of fear resulting from the increase in certain types of crime. It is a partnership among the community, the police and the media, and allows the public to assist in the fight against crime without fear of being identified or exposed as it guarantees anonymity and confidentiality. It offers rewards for information which may result in an arrest or seizure. Crime Stoppers Hotline numbers are 800-TIPS AND 800-STOP. This programme was launched in March 2002.
E-BUSINESS, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE (E-BITT)
The E-BITT Committee was established on June 12, 2007.
The Committee’s Mission is to:
- Encourage the development of appropriate approaches and mentalities to ensure the transformation of the ICT sector to become a leading sector of a knowledge based economy.
- Raise awareness of the importance of the information and communications technology (ICT) sector.
- Ensure that Trinidad and Tobago is an attractive location for ICT investment by both local, Caribbean and foreign companies.
- Promote an environment that encourages innovation.
- Develop linkages between the component parts of the local ICT industry.
Some of the Committee’s strategic imperatives are to ensure that:
- Trinidad and Tobago successfully makes the transformation from its dependence on depleting natural resources, oil and gas, to services including ICT-based services.
- That government, agencies and officials see the ICT industry as one of the most important sectors in the Trinidad and Tobago economy.
- That Trinidad and Tobago has the skilled manpower necessary to create and develop a robust and sustainable ICT sector.
- That Trinidad and Tobago is a competitive location for local and foreign ICT companies.
- That Trinidad and Tobago becomes an attractive place in which to undertake Research and Development.
- Trinidad and Tobago truly becomes a knowledge based economy.
The Energy Committee of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce was established on October 01, 2001. It is currently involved in activities that will FIND and develop our natural resources cost effectively, USE these resources wisely, extracting maximum value and CREATE more sustainable economic activities. The Committee delivers its mandate by educating, developing and advocating.
Examples of current work of the Committee are:
- Trinidad and Tobago Gas Sales Forecasting Model
The Committee has developed a national planning model to assist in forecasting gas sales, reserves and Reserve/Production ratios for Trinidad and Tobago. The model will allow various stakeholders to input their own assumptions and to generate alternative scenarios for the key indicators in the local gas industry. The aim is to provide a common tool for stakeholders to capture their perspectives on the future thereby paving the way for a more sophisticated debate and better policy formulation in the local gas industry.
- Petroleum Products Subsidy
The Committee is engaged in brainstorming potential solutions to the growing petroleum products subsidy issue. It hopes to engage in debate with other stakeholders to develop practical solutions on the way forward.
- Renewable Energy
The Committee has been examining the application of renewable energy in Trinidad and Tobago and has considered solar and wind power.It is currently studying the potential supply of hydroelectric power from Guyana. It has been established that Guyana has some 7000MW of hydroelectric power potential.
- The Energy Committee is of the view that the supply of Hydropower from Guyana will prolong the life of the local gas industry as well as sustain the electricity based industrialization platform. The development of hydroelectric power supply should also reduce the gas needed by T&TEC and make this available for other use.
FACILITIES MANAGEMENT AND MAINTENANCE COMMITTEE
The Facilities Management and Maintenance (FMM) Committee was established in July 2007 to become the foremost organized group/association where Facilities Management and Maintenance Professionals are able to attain valuable and useful information so as to develop and maintain high standards of practice within the industry locally and regionally.
The Committee’s mission is:
- To educate stakeholders on and promote the value of Facilities Management and Maintenance
- To advocate the enforcement of appropriate legislation and standards, and
- To create linkages with practitioners of the FMM industry
The Nova was established in October 1991 by the Board of Directors to forge a link for collaboration amongst current and potential business leaders in Trinidad and Tobago.
Vision: To be the premier facilitator of business opportunities for Emerging Business Professionals and Small / Micro Businesses in Trinidad and Tobago.
- To facilitate the provision of business opportunities for NOVA members
- To provide NOVA members opportunities to collaborate and network with business leaders
- To facilitate the development of emerging business professionals
To manage the future business environment through the execution of sustainable development projects:
- JumpStart Programme
One of the major projects of the NOVA Committee is the JumpStart Student Apprenticeship Programme which is facilitated annually from June to September. The project aims to assist 100 young persons from across the country to gain valuable experience in a working environment. In 2007, Her Excellency Dr. Jean Ramjohn Richards First Lady of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, accepted the Chamber’s invitation to be the patron for the programme. Members are invited to participate in this worthwhile initiative, by assisting with the apprenticeship of at least one candidate from the programme.
- Focus on SME Development
Having hosted two successful conferences geared towards the MSME sector in 2006 and 2009 respectively, the NOVA Committee proposes to host similar initiatives on a regular basis. Among many other developmental issues, the focus will include practical aspects of starting and growing SMEs. Mentoring small business owners is another component of this initiative.
- Executive Development
The continued professional development of its members is a key element in NOVA’s strategic plan. The Committee has already hosted a well received breakfast session on Intellectual Property Rights and has scheduled other sessions on Security Issues and Financial Matters.
TRADE AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
The ITNU acts as the Secretariat for the Trade and Business Development Committee. The Terms of Reference of the Committee are as follows: -
- Consider and develop strategies for promoting trade and investment (locally, regionally and internationally) and influence the establishment of an appropriate legal, fiscal and regulatory framework
- Identify, in collaboration with other business organizations current barriers/impediments to competitive trading and issues impacting on business/trading and investment environment in current markets with a view to developing and promoting industry-wide positions
- Influence Government policies on trade matters and support practical implementation of supportive policies and relevant regulations
- Influence and guide participation in policy formation at the regional level and encourage the implementation of the CSME
- Take actions as necessary pursuant to matters arising from the work of the Diversification and Innovation Roundtable
- Create awareness among members and assist members in developing coherent positions on trade matters
The Committee’s Terms of Reference presage an internal and external agenda. It will be necessary to prioritize activity to ensure that available resources of the Chamber and the Committee are effectively utilized and that the correct issues are being addressed. Among the specific possible activities or issues that may require the Committee’s attention in no particular oder of relevance are: -
- Competitiveness improvement
- Procurement Legislation
- Competition Legislation (Regionally and Nationally)
- Financial Sector Legislation (Insurance)
- Revision of Trade Policies
- Revision of Investment Policy
- Trade Negotiations with Canada and Chile
- EPA Implementation
- Building Business with Central America
- Interaction with the Ambassador for Trade
- Implementation of the Recommendations of the TradeCom Project
- Chamber Trade Missions
- CARICOM-related issues
- Promotion of Innovation
- Diversification of the Economy
 including fiscal incentives where appropriate, and appropriate machinery for efficient administration and implementation of rules, regulations, procedures etc.)
 including deficiencies/problems with current strategies, policies, legislation, standards, administrative machinery, procedures, implementation