Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 1st 2016 Contents BG4 | COVER STORY
BUSINESS GUARDIAN guardian.co.tt DECEMBER 1 • 2016
Energy and agenda
Ravi Suryadevara, president
of the American Chamber of
Commerce of T&T, is expect-
ing energy, trade and immigra-
tion to be some of the top issues
that Donald Trump's adminis-
tration will be exploring in relation to T&T and
the Caribbean when he takes office in January.
"There is change but there are also opportu-
nities in that change that we need to be pre-de-
termined to---and perhaps should be working
towards---presenting a position both bilaterally
and as a region. That is why we are monitor-
ing and watching developments between now
and January 20. Energy, immigration and trade
will be the areas with immediate effect," he
told the Business Guardian last week at the
He congratulated the United States and Pres-
ident-elect Trump on free and fair elections.
He added that AmCham T&T would con-
tinue to monitor developments in Washington
and its impact on T&T and the region.
Suryadevara spoke about President-elect
Trump's future energy policy and its impact
on T&T and the Caribbean.
T&T is the largest producer of LNG in the
hemisphere in which several Caribbean coun-
tries are looking to switch to LNG.
However, Jamaica is set to be a new LNG
player in the energy matrix and an American
company, New Fortress LLC has invested in
a regasification plant on the island's north
coastal second city of Montego Bay.
"Jamaica's MoBay plant has completed its
natural gas upgrade so it is now open to re-
ceive liquefied natural gas (LNG) and they have
designs to become a supplier of LNG within
the region. Their main power stations are now
going to be powered by LNG with supplies from
the US. That is probably going to be mimicked
in other areas in the Caribbean as this becomes
a testament of successful operationalisation.
This is a 190-megawatt power plant in Jamaica
so clearly there are US energy exports entering
the region. Small-scale energy cargoes were
supposedly a challenge for companies inter-
ested in supplying the region, but now we are
seeing the cargoes finding their space within
and it is not coming from T&T."
He believes that based on what Trump said
on his election campaign, he wants the United
States to be energy self-sufficient.
This comes at a time of declining natural
gas production in T&T.
Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness,
while in T&T in mid-November, had said the
LNG terminal in Montego could be a game
changer and that Jamaica is poised to become
the LNG hub of the region.
New Fortress Energy invested US $175 mil-
lion to construct the Jamaican regasification
Suryadevara said given this scenario, T&T
has to determine where it will competitively
land its energy product output.
"Trump wants to unlock the potential of
shale. In doing so, not only is there going to
be a self sufficiency within the US, but it af-
fords a displaced consumption back into the
marketplace that the US would have consumed.
So there is now this energy re-balancing on a
global scale with muted consumption effects."
He also referred to global oil giant, Saudi
Arabia whose government has made it clear
of the need to "pivot away from oil and gas"
into a new economy. He added that T&T needs
to do the same.
Trump has made his intentions clear to de-
port illegal migrants back to their countries
Suryadevara said the United States' immi-
gration policy must be looked at within the
context of its economy and where it is headed,
which is similar to T&T's situation.
"You would have noticed during the cam-
paign there was no focus on Caribbean trade on
either political side. Similarly, there is the issue
of immigration and it is an issue the Americans
have to treat with no different than T&T has
to deal with its own immigration issue.
"How do you balance the requirements of
a growing economy and the segmentation
of a labour force to fuel the growth of that
Ravi Suryadevara, president of the American Chamber of Commerce of T&T.
PHOTO: M GONZALES
on Trump's Caribbean
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