Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 20th 2015 Contents A16
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, April 20, 2015
The importance of tourism to the Tobago econ-
omy was among the issues highlighted when Sec-
retary of Finance and Enterprise Development in
the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Joel Jack
hosted the first round of annual budget consul-
tations with various stakeholders on the island.
The session was held at Victor E Bruce Financial
The issue was first raised by the representative
for the Bankers Association of T&T (BATT), Gregory
Hines, general manager at Scotiabank. He focused
on Tobago s role in the long-term development and
diversification of the country s economy and
tourism s potential contribution.
Sharing similar sentiments was Christopher James,
president of the Tobago Hotel and Tourism Asso-
ciation, who said tourism can rapidly stimulate
growth in Tobago compared to most other activities,
since it is the fastest growing industry in the world.
Chairman of the Tobago Division of the T&T
Chamber of Industry of Commerce Diane Hadad
said resuscitation of the tourism industry was critical
to the island s development and had been identified
in the THA s Comprehensive Economic Development
Plan---the economic roadmap for the island.
Representatives of the Tobago Agro Processors
Association spoke about the major challenges being
experienced by the sector and recommended further
grant assistance for small businesses on the island.
The asssociation s president, Darilyn Smart said:
"In order to become competitive with our regional
counterparts, our businesses require additional
equipment, machinery and working capital."
First Citizens has announced
a partnership with Phoenix Park
Gas Processors Ltd (PPGPL) for
a US$80.7 million loan facility
which will mature in March 2021.
The facility was used to refinance
debt facilities previously arranged
by US domiciled banks.
It is of national significance as
it demonstrates PPGPL s ability to
access financing commensurate
with its reputation and credit qual-
ity as well as being financed wholly
in US dollars sourced locally by
The signing ceremony was
attended by Energy Minister Kevin
Ramnarine; Indar Maharaj, pres-
ident, National Gas Company of
T&T Ltd; Dominic Rampersad,
acting president, Phoenix Park Gas
Processors Ltd; Karen Darbasie,
First Citizens Group chief execu-
tive officer; Jason Julien, deputy
CEO--banking operations, First
Citizens Group; and other key
members of the PPGPL and First
Citizens management teams.
Phoenix Park s core business
consists of natural gas processing,
natural gas liquids (NGLs) aggre-
gation, fractionation and market-
The company operates T&T s
only natural gas processing and
NGLs fractionation plant and is
the largest producer and marketer
of propane, mixed butane, isobu-
tane and natural gasoline in T&T.
At the signing ceremony Ram-
persad noted the importance of
the local financial sector in the
development of the local economy
and complimented First Citizens
for the role it played in completing
In response, Darbasie said how
pleased the banking group was to
contribute to the energy sector
and demonstrate its continued
commitment to the development
of this important industry in T&T.
Tourism in focus at THA pre-budget talks
First Citizens in US$80.7m partnership with Phoenix Park
From left are attorney Nicole Ferreira-Aaron; Sheldon Sylvester, management accountant, PPGPL; Jason Julien, deputy CEO, First Citizens; Dominic
Rampersad, acting president, PPGPL; Kevin Ramnarine, Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs; Karen Darbasie, Group CEO, First Citizens; Bal Boodram,
vice president, Finance and Information Technology, PPGPL; and Florence Mulchansingh, corporate attorney, PPGPL.
At the start of the talks Jack said it
provided an invaluable opportunity
for stakeholders to share sector-specific
information for inclusion in the THA s
upcoming fiscal package.
"This event is in keeping with a
consultative approach adopted by the
Assembly to further develop the
island," he said.
Chief Secretary Orville London
emphasised the value of the activity
to the entire budgetary process.
"All sectors must be involved in the
island s governance," he said.
"We are all partners in this exer-
THA Secretary of Finance and Enterprise
Development Joel Jack
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