Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 2nd 2014 Contents OCTOBER 2014 • WEEK ONE www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | BG3
Chief editor-business: ANTHONY WILSON
Editing and design: NATASHA SAIDWAN
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InvesTT president Racquel Moses says
last week Thursday s investment con-
ference, at the offices of the prestigious
Council on Foreign Relations on the
Upper East Side in Manhattan, went
better than she expected.
"There were some challenges in terms of
the coordination of the event in terms of the
organisers, but they managed to pull everything
together. While we may not have got the num-
ber of investors that we wanted, we certainly
got good quality investors," said Moses in an
interview after the event at which she was
accompanied by InvesTT vice president of
investor sourcing, Shyamal Chandradaths-
The event, which attracted scores of potential
investors, attorneys, investment bankers and
others, focused on raising T&T s profile as a
country that is open for investment in both
the non-energy and energy sectors.
It was held in the middle of a very hectic
period of meetings that coincided with the
United Nations General Assembly, which was
meeting in New York at the same time.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
delivered the feature address at the function
during which she underscored the country s
attributes as an investment location as it is
at the crossroads between North and South
America and its competitively priced electricity
and natural gas provides it with comparative
advantages over many other countries in the
InvesTT is now in the process of doing the
necessary follow ups with those who attended
to ensure that they are provided with all of
the information they need.
The process of following up an investment
conference involves sending emails to the
attendees and answering specific questions
about investment opportunities and the pricing
and availability of goods, services and land in
T&T as well as the licensing requirements,
"We had quite a few inquiries about dis-
tressed hotel assets, which we would need to
package and send to the potential investors,
giving them indicative rates, so they would
understand the kinds of offers they need to
make," she said.
Chandradathsingh said the investment pro-
motion agency was surprised by the number
of potential investors at the conference from
the West Indian diaspora in North America
with at least three or four potential investments
from this group.
Chandradathsingh, who was recently pro-
moted to his current position, said that he
was also pleasantly surprised that the InvesTT
officials did not need to have the "elementary
Trinidad and Tobago conversation" with the
potential investors at the conference "as it
seemed that those who attended seemed to
know about the country." He said that InvesTT
is starting to see, more and more, that people
are aware of the general economics of the
country, which allows for a more advanced
dialogue about their actual interests.
Moses said: "And there was also great inter-
est from investment bankers at the conference.
As much as we anticipated them and counted
them among the investors, we did not expect
them to be as interested in the details, without
having a project ready, but just wanting to get
involved," said Moses.
During her presentation at the conference,
Moses gave details about the Columbus Com-
munications (FLOW) data centre that is going
to be built at the Tamana InTech Park, which
involves the regionally based provider of cable
services for consumers and businesses initially
investing US$33 million to construct a 300-
rack Tier-3 location.
The investment will be made in three phases
and is expected to yield a total investment of
US$166 million over a five-year period.
A Tier-3 data centre is the highest standard
of data centre that T&T can reach because of
its location and the availability of redundancies
in the provision of electricity and other serv-
"What would prevent us from going to Tier
4 would be that the data centre would need
an independent power supply, which would
be very difficult for us," said Moses. She
explained that the data centre would provide
an off-site location for data storage or data
"Think of this as Columbus s cloud, which
they would sell to other businesses as a man-
aged service," according to Moses.
Asked about the extent of investment facil-
itation provided by InvesTT for the Columbus
data centre, Moses said: "Because of the extent
of our facilitation of that investment, I can
genuinely say that it would not have happened
without our heavy lifting."
She said Columbus Communications was
actively considering Colombia for the invest-
ment, with the South American nation seem-
ingly pulling out all the stops to get the trans-
Chandradathsingh said the investment came
about as a result of InvesTT s after-care pro-
gramme of existing foreign investors in T&T.
"In the initial meeting with Colombus Com-
munications, they indicated their propensity
to invest in T&T and that all things being
equal, they would consider additional invest-
ments in the country. What eventually emerged
from that conversation was the data centre,"
Ultimately, the investment will generate 300
high-tech, high-value jobs and may lead to
further benefits for the country.
"Managing a Tier-3 data centre means that
there are certification requirements for the
staff and levels of continuing education that
they will have to have and maintain. It provides
for IT talent---an ongoing challenge in the
management of that data centre---which helps
us stem the brain drain as people who would
otherwise leave in search of that challenge
who would be able to find something tech-
nically exciting to do in T&T."
The data centre can also act as a magnet
for other high-tech investments, the InvesTT
officials said, as the Columbus investment has
the ability to create a data centre cluster in
She said: "The infrastructure can attract
other IT investments. But we see it as even
more than that because it means that other
data centres could locate within the vicinity
to serve the rest of the Caribbean as well as
North and South American clients as a back-
Chandradathsingh added that there were
niche data centre opportunities that may
choose to locate in T&T because of the estab-
lishment of the data centre in Tamana.
Asked about the next big thing that InvesTT
is working on, Chandradathsingh said the
agency is looking to facilitate a medical tourism
project---a state-of-the-art cardiac hospital---
that is being done through a public and private
partnership between a Trinidadian doctor
living in North America and the University of
the West Indies. It is proposed that the hospital
would be located in the Mount Hope area.
"What is exciting about this is that this also
has the ability to create a cluster because once
you get a world-class cardiac hospital in T&T,
that can be used to draw medical tourism,
there are all sorts of other services that will
develop around it," said Moses.
More traction for InvesTT
in promoting T&T
InvesTT officials at Council on Foreign Relations in New York
Quincy Flores, senior sector officer, along with Racquel Moses, president, Shyamal Chandradathsingh, vice president investor sourcing and Shurla
Henry-Gibson, manager, marketing and communications at Pratt House, the main office of the Council on Foreign Relations in Manhattan on
September 25. PHOTO: ANTHONY WILSON
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