Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 14th 2013 Contents NOVEMBER 2013 • WEEK TWO www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COVER STORY | BG5
of the mutual fund is what you repay."
The idea is to get different businesses to
invest in this fund, he said.
"So this mutual fund has a series of invest-
ments, some may do well, some may not do
well. Let us say we lend to an SME and the
unit is valued at $100. Because the fund has
done well through other businesses, it gets
value and is raised to $105. Then it means the
borrower, when he redeems the unit, has to
pay back at $105. What I would love to be
able to do is to get the public to buy into it.
That is the broad concept," he said.
Young spoke to the Business Guardian last
Friday at Tower D, Port-of-Spain International
Young does not believe there is a need to
devalue the T&T dollar to diversify the econ-
"I do not think we need that. Firstly, we
have the floating currency and I do not see
the need for currency alignment. Things are
functioning fairly good," he said.
Instead, Young said he sees low interest
rates as a challenge.
"The big challenge we have is interest rates
in that our interest rates are getting as close
to that of US interest rates which are very low.
So people would say if they are getting the
same interest rate in US dollars, it may make
sense to move into US dollars for safety. This,
then, would deplete T&T s foreign reserves as
people will convert their TT dollars," he said.
He said high liquidity is not helping the
"I understand that there is about $8 billion
in liquidity. People have all this cash and want
to do something with it and maybe invest
abroad. That is why we need to diversify. New
industries to set up would need foreign
exchange to buy capital goods and so on."
The former banker said the two previous
chairs of the EDB did a "tremendous" job and
laid the groundwork for him.
"This economic diversification is about
moving the country away from dependence
on oil and gas. The EDB s mandate is to create
economic activities and initiatives that would
help meet that goal," he said.
In an address at last week s T&T Coalition
of Services Industries award ceremony, Young
said oil and gas will last another 22 years in
T&T if there are more discoveries, which makes
the EDB s role more urgent.
Young spoke of new areas the country should
look at, including financial services, tourism,
food sustainability, energy services, culture,
creative industry and maritime industry and
"We would do research and work with dif-
ferent organisations, identify different areas
and do a cluster study, like the Arthur Lok
Jack School of Graduate Studies, then pass it
on to a relevant ministry."
Young gave the example of a study that was
done on the cocoa industry before he assumed
the EDB chairmanship.
"We always talk about T&T having the best
cocoa. However, the current infrastructure,
which is the Cocoa Research Board, has prob-
ably outlived its usefulness and needs to be
revamped. We want to replace it with a cocoa
development company and that has been
passed on to the Ministry of Food Production"
He sees potential in developing central
Trinidad s pottery production.
"We found that everyone had their own kiln
to heat these things. It was causing pollution
and coming from their backyards and the
neighbours did not like that. What came up
was maybe they could have a lot of land where
there could be a central kiln and then people
can take their products there. That is evolving
at this stage," Young said.
He said there are plans to "resuscitate" the
fishing villages on the north coast and breathe
new economic life in these places through
"We have a project where we identify five
fishing villages on the north coast and try to
help those fishing villages revive themselves
by providing infrastructure for them. In one
place, we put a container there to help them
store engines. Another one is to repair net
facilities. Another one is it looks like we have
to put up a proper jetty in Toco. Of course,
once identified, we pass these on to the respec-
The EDB is conducting studies on new ports
with an eye to the expansion of the Panama
"We have several ports and we want to
understand the ramifications of the Panama
Canal and its impact on T&T. We see those
Young said these projects were started by
the previous board and he intends to complete
"We want to do them as quickly as we can."
Young blames bureaucracy for T&T s lack
"I think T&T s lack of diversification in the
past boils down to the inability to execute.
While I have not done much research on it,
and based on experience, I think as a society
we have become very bureaucratic and it takes
ages to get things done. I know the Government
is looking at the ease of doing business," he
He remains "worried" about the lack of
integrity in the country.
"I worry about the level of integrity of the
country where everyone is trying to be a smart
man in different forms. So now the country
must create mechanisms to preempt this
action. I think the concept of the Revenue
Authority where we were going to merge Cus-
toms with a Revenue Authority made sense,
but it was frustrated," he said.
Young said T&T needs greater leadership
to overcome its challenges.
"There needs to leadership at all levels,
whether it is at the business level, or in the
government and public sector. It is how we
conduct ourselves and our value systems.
Everyday, there is confusion and some irreg-
ularity. The kind of money we have spent over
the last ten years, where have we reached?"
Young used the example of the Central
American country Costa Rica as a fairly small
country of under five million people on which
T&T can model in diversification thrust.
"I was in Costa Rica a couple months ago:
4.7 million people, just look at the progress
of that country. They have a strong ICT sector
as they had the vision years ago to encourage
Intel to invest there. By 2012, Intel had invested
US$900 million in the ICT industry there."
He said Costa Rica is world renowned for
its ecosystem and well-managed economy.
"In Costa Rica, they have over 50,000 people
involved in the contact centre business offering
call centres. It is supposed to be one of the
top ten places to retire in. Costa Rica is also
in the top 15 happiest countries," he said.
On the corporate side of his life, Young cur-
rently serves on the boards of Neal & Massy
Holdings Ltd and One Caribbean Media.
He is also involved with the NGO Catholic
Media Services Ltd, which publishes the
Catholic News, and works with Youth Business
"There is a growing trend at the tertiary
level for young persons to go out and start
their own business," he said.
When asked about his post-retirement
investments, Young said there is none.
"Contrary to perception, I do not have major
investments. Quite honestly, as an individual,
I have simple needs and I live a simple life,"
said the retired banker.
Continued from page 4
Links Archive November 13th 2013 November 15th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page