Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 7th 2016 Contents A12
December 7 - 2016
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK
TSTT unveils $3.7b plan
Public Utilities Minister Fitzgerald Hinds
says the Telecommunications Services
Company of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT)
is an example of how a state run compa-
ny can be run efficiently. He made the
declaration at the announcement of the
company's $3.7 billion, five-year plan last
"$3.7 billion is very significant for any
entity to invest in T&T, particularly in the
current economic circumstances," Hinds
"It says that when other people are pull-
ing back because things are bad, TSTT still
has the confidence to invest. I asked the
CEO what was the staff compliment for
TSTT and he told me the figure. That is
one third of another fully owned state enti-
ty which sustains losses and has three times
the number of employees."
The strategic plan unveiled by TSTT is
one of the largest investments ever made
by a company in the T&T economy. The
company signed an agreement with Repub-
lic Bank Limited for partial financing of the
plan totalling almost $2 billion.
Hinds, who called for the cutting out of
waste and corruption in the private and
public sectors, said: "These two phenom-
ena are very prevalent across T&T. I have
been told by TSTT's chairman a lot has
been done in that regard and there was a
lot of wastage."
TSTT CEO Dr. Ronald Walcott said the
company had made progress over the last
year in rebranding and overhauling its oper-
"We looked at our brand and we felt that
one of the issues that we needed to deal
with was brand confusion and a prolifera-
tion of different ideas," he said.
"We took a position to re-align. Our plan
is $3.7 billion investment five year plan. We
are going to transform ourselves from being
a 20th century traditional telecom to being
a 21st century agile, broadband telecom-
munications company. Several months into
the plan we have made significant strides."
Walcott said this week, TSTT will pub-
lish their half year financial results which
would detail how their plan is evolving.
TSTT will retain its name and brand and
all of its corporate social responsibility will
be under the Bmobile Foundation.
"This is simply not a brand refresh for
us, we are making a public statement that
we are in a transformation and we will
improve our services." Walcott said.
TSTT chairman Emile Elias said he was
satisfied with the performance of the board
which was appointed one year ago. He spoke
about the importance of state run compa-
nies using each other's services rather than
competing private sector companies.
"Too many times I get complaints that
state agencies are giving preference to our
competition. Minister Hinds, I want you to
remind your Cabinet colleagues there is a
state enterprise manual and it does tell you
cannot do that and you must give preference
to TSTT," he said. (Trinidad Guardian)
At last, the Tobago
Autonomy Bill is
expected to be
brought before Par-
according to Prime
Minister Dr Keith
Rowley. The journey for this island's
autonomy would have started many
years ago and the momentum reached
a crescendo over the last four year.
As expected, many consultations
took place and the contributions of
most of the participants were expect-
ed to be in the final version of the bill.
However, according to former dip-
lomat Reginald Dumas, this may not
be the case. He is on record identify-
ing flaws in the bill and with the lack
of proper consultation with the Toba-
go public. He has also noted that one
of the bill's ardent supporters, former
Chief Secretary Hochoy Charles, has
distanced himself from the current
version of the proposed legislation.
It means then that the document
in its present form is not sufficiently
representative of the views of Tobago-
If this is so then it is disheartening.
It's important to realise that a die-
hard set of Tobagonians poured their
hearts and souls into making a con-
tribution to the discussion on the way
forward for this island's administrative
Sadly, they have been on this road
before, as the issue of autonomy fea-
tured prominently in the last general
election. Then, the leader of the Toba-
go Organisation of Tobago (TOP), Ash-
worth Jack, presented a final version
of a bill, which many familiar with the
discussions said bore little resemblance
to the discussions that had taken place.
Members of the People's National
Movement's Tobago Council rejected
it and the then opposition leader Dr
Rowley refused to be part of it too.
Now that the shoe is on the other
foot, will the Opposition United
National Congress support the bill in
Parliament? We doubt it.
Seeing that it requires a two thirds
majority to be passed, an absence of
Opposition support will make it a sit-
So basically we may be back to
square one with the bill.
On a brighter note, bill or no bill
we will continue celebrating Tobago
Day. This year's week of activities were
bigger, better and better attended than
in previous years.
And the honour roll of this year's
recipients of the Tobago Medal of Gold
showed the kind of contribution
Tobagonians have been making in the
national and international cultural are-
nas.Paralympic athlete Akeem Stewart
and veteran businessman Neil Wilson
were similarly honoured. Cultural icons
like Linda Mc Cartha-Lewis (Calypso
Rose) and Winston Anthony Bailey
(Mighty Shadow) have made their mark
on the footprints of time.
All in all, Tobagonians have certain-
ly made and will continue to make
their mark on the national and inter-
national stages despite the island's
relatively minute 116 square miles.
Thus ,we endorse the words of Chief
Secretary Orville London when he said
we can justify renaming this period of
reflection and celebration Tobago Day,
as there is much to celebrate and be
Secretary of the Division of Settlements and Labour Deon Issac,
centre, prepares to cut a celebratory cake with staff at the
division last week. The division was celebrating its tenth
Chief Secretary Orville London during his Tobago
Day speech on December 4, 2016.
"It is our Tobagoness, our return
to the traditional Tobago values of
industriousness, thrift, resilience,
resourcefulness, self-reliance and
self-pride that would ensure surviv-
al and success."
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