We Are Better Together

CSME Implementation and The Role of the Private Sector

The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce will host the first of its three signature annual events, the Annual Business Luncheon Meeting, on March 28, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain. This year’s focus will be on achieving regional integration through stronger private sector engagement in the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). 

About The CSME

Integration has been a long desired, if elusive, goal for the region. The closest we have come to success is, quite likely, the establishment of the Caribbean Community (better known as CARICOM), which was signed into effect on July 4, 1973 by the Treaty of Chaguaramas. The 1989 Grand Anse Declaration followed, initiating the process towards the CSME, while the 2001 Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas finally brought the CSME to life.

Unfortunately, the various territories have not fully embraced the concept of a single market and economy, and there has been a widespread failure to translate the terms of the treaty into domestic policy, a move that would give member states equal benefits within the trade bloc.

Now, the time might be right to change that equation. At the CARICOM Heads of Government Conference on December 3, 2018, Caribbean private sector companies had the opportunity to comment on the CSME’s implementation. Directly engaging stakeholders in this way was a significant departure from the usual formal process, and one that regional businesspeople welcomed. 

At that meeting, business leaders pledged their commitment to various goals, and developed a prioritised frame of action, which includes setting up a new, formal mechanism for private sector engagement with CARICOM Councils. A meeting to move this item forward will take place on March 27, 2019 in Port of Spain, the day before the T&T Chamber’s Annual Business Meeting. 

Speakers and Discussion Panelists

Titled, “We Are Better Together: CSME Implementation and the Role of the Private Sector”, this Business Luncheon meeting will feature an interactive panel comprising some of the region’s most prominent and influential private sector representatives. These will include Gervase Warner of the Trinidad and Tobago-based Massy Group, along with Jeffrey Hall of Jamaica Producers Group, Colin Soo Ping Chow of EY Caribbean, Komal Samaroo of Guyana’s Demerara Distillers and from Barbados, Anthony Ali of the Goddard Group. Distinguished Grenadian trade expert, Dr. Patrick Antoine, will moderate the discussion as the panelists address issues like harmonisation of tax legislation, transport, contingent rights and free movement of people.

Click on any of the photos of panellists below to read more about them.

Mr. Anthony Ali spent most of his working life in Canadawhere he worked in the areas of operations, sales, marketing, customer allegiance and strategic planning for a number of Fortune 500 companies in Canada and the United States in a variety of industries.  Before joining Goddard Enterprises Limited in 2013 as Managing Director, he worked with S.M. Jaleel (SMJ) in Trinidad – the largest soft drink manufacturer in the English-speaking Caribbean, where he served as General Manager from 2010 – 2013. 

Upon graduating from the University of Toronto in 1988 with a B.Sc. Honours Degree in Chemistry, Mr. Ali worked as a Research Chemist at National Silicates, a manufacturer of sodium silicates and silicates derivatives. He then subsequently became their Business Development Manager.  He completed a post graduate degree in Executive Marketing from the University of Western Ontario in 1992.

In 1993, he was selected from 6,000 employees from Abitibi-Price Inc., a large manufacturer and seller of newsprint and groundwood specialties products to participate in a fellowship at McKinsey & Co. for two years where he worked on a number of projects, both financial and operational, for a variety of global clients.  During the fellowship, Mr. Ali focussed on leadership and strategic engagement for McKinsey clients.

After his fellowship, Mr. Ali went to work at Azerty Inc., the largest distributor in the U.S. of IT consumables as the Vice President of Logistics and Administration. During the four (4) years at Azerty, the company grew from $350 million to $1.2 billion before it was sold.  Mr. Ali stayed with the acquiring company, United Stationary, for an additional 6 years as VP Operations and Logistics.

He later joined Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world’s largest provider of scientific equipment in 2005, as Global Director of Operations and Customer Allegiance. He remained there for three years working with large pharmaceutical, automotive and manufacturing organisations.  He then moved to Enerworks Inc. – a North American manufacturer of Solar Thermal systems where he served as Global Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Customer Allegiance.

When Mr. Ali left SMJ in 2013 he became the Managing Director and CEO of Goddard Enterprises Ltd in 2013, where he still remains to this day.  He has spent that last 5 years restructuring the business, divesting non-core assets and implementing a strategy for growth across the Caribbean and LATAM.

Mr. Ali has served on several Boards in the energy field, is the co-author of several publications and has 2 patents and has 2 patents pending.  He has an interest in all types of sporting activities.

Jeffrey Hall is the Chief Executive Officer of Jamaica Producers Group (JP). JP is listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange and has its primary interests in manufacturing, agri-business and logistics in the Caribbean and Europe. Mr. Hall joined the company in 2002 and has served as CEO since July 2007. Mr. Hall is credited with a turnaround of the Group and under his tenure led an acquisition strategy that included Kingston Wharves (Jamaica’s leading multipurpose port operator and private investor in logistics), Hoogesteger (the leading fresh juice company in Northern Europe), Tortuga International (a leading Caribbean rum-based food souvenir brand), Mavis Bank Coffee Factory (a since divested leader in Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee) and Ram Shipping (a UK based freight forwarder serving all of the English Caribbean territories). He serves on the Board’s Audit and Executive Committees and as a director of its International subsidiaries and associated companies.

Prior to joining Jamaica Producers Group, Mr. Hall practiced banking and securities law at David Polk & Wardwell in New York as a member of the New York Bar. Mr. Hall was recruited home to Jamaica to serve as an Intervention Specialist at FINSAC Limited where he worked on behalf of the Government of Jamaica to negotiate the restructuring of some Jamaica’s largest banking and life insurance groups.

After leaving Government service, Mr. Hall was a founder and partner of Caribbean Investment Fund, a US$30 million private equity fund focused on investing in the Caribbean region.

Mr. Hall presently serves as Chairman of Scotia Group Jamaica, Scotia Investments Jamaica Limited and Kingston Wharves. He is also a Director of the National Housing Trust, Blue Power Group, Eppley Caribbean Property Fund Limited SCC and the Shipping Association of Jamaica Property Limited. Mr. Hall has served as a director of a range of national institutions including the Institute of Jamaica, JAMPRO (Jamaica’s Investment Promotion Agency), the Jamaica Stock Exchange and the Bank of Jamaica (Jamaica’s central bank).

Mr. Hall holds a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School, Harvard University where he graduated with honours. He also holds a Master of Public Policy degree (Public and International Finance) from Harvard University where he was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. Mr. Hall received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Washington University in St. Louis Missouri where he graduated summa cum laude (highest honours). He is a member of the US-based Phi Beta Kappa Honour Society for overall academic excellence and the Omicron Delta Epsilon Honour Society for academic excellence in Economics.

Komal Samaroo is the Executive Chairman of Demerara Distillers Limited, one of the leading rum producers of the Caribbean and the home of El Dorado Rum. He has been instrumental in the company’s development over the last 49 years having held several key positions including Managing Director and Vice President, International Marketing. Mr. Samaroo also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of West Indies Rum & Spirits Producers’ Association (WIRSPA), National Rums of Jamaica, Diamond Fire and General Insurance and Institute of Private Enterprise Development Limited (IPED) and also as a Director on the Board of Demerara Bank Limited.

Mr. Samaroo was recently awarded the Cacique’s Crown of Honour (C.C.H.) which is the second highest award in the Order of Service of Guyana. He was also awarded the Golden Arrow of Achievement by the President of Guyana in 1993, for service of an exceptionally high standard in the field of Financial Management and Business.

Mr. Samaroo has been a Fellow of the Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants since 1983, which he admits played a pivotal role in his professional development.


Colin is the Executive Chairman of EY Caribbean. EY Caribbean has 44 Partners and Executive Directors and over 500 professional staff. Its regional offices are located in Aruba, Barbados, Curacao, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

Colin has been a partner at EY Caribbean since 1990 and was appointed as Executive Chairman in 2004. He has over 35 years of accounting, auditing and financial services experience and has served large corporate clients in the Caribbean from a senior advisory capacity. His clients also include large public and private sector companies, in a variety of industries as well as publicly listed and regulated entities.

Colin is also a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants of the UK, a practicing member and former president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Trinidad & Tobago (ICATT).

Gervase Warner is an Executive Director of Massy Holdings and the President and Group CEO of the Massy Group. Prior to his appointment in 2009, he also served as the Executive Chairman of the Group’s Energy & Industrial Gases Business Unit. Prior to his Massy experience, Mr. Warner was a Partner at the International management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, where he spent eleven years serving clients in the US, Latin America and Caribbean across a wide range of industries.

He currently serves on the Trinidad & Tobago Board of Citigroup Merchant Bank Limited, the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business and United Way Trinidad & Tobago.

Mr. Warner holds an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. He also holds BSc degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Warner is a past pupil of St. Mary’s College.

Profile on Dr. Patrick Antoine will be uploaded shortly

To improve the ease of doing business and make the region more competitive, governments need to work closely with their private sectors. Collaboration can help accelerate economic activity, generate investment, improve delivery of goods and services and increase both employment and social capital. For this to become a reality, it is essential to engage the regional business community.

While regional integration may seem to be outside the everyday cut and thrust of business and more in the realm of dry policymaking, consider its direct impact on businesses: the CSME is a vehicle through which businesses can build competitiveness by accessing an enlarged single market. It allows both the scope and scale of production to expand using the skills and capital available in our region, and creates cross-border production and production integration. 

Companies with a regional presence gain reputationally and thanks to their larger consumer base, which potentially exists in both the public and private sectors, are also able to justify larger investments in equipment, etc. The provisions within the CSME provide for more cross-border investments, as the tax rules are theoretically more investor-friendly.

From a global perspective, the regional market is already considered a single entity; now more than ever, we must leverage this to our benefit. 

 The T&T Chamber’s Chief Executive Officer Gabriel Faria says this,

 “It is not how much we will gain if we integrate, but what we stand to lose if we don’t.”

Register your seat at this highly charged and important discussion today.

Find out about the opportunities, how your business can be positively affected and what needs to be done to move towards full implementation.