Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 27th 2014 Contents FEBRUARY 2014 • WEEK FOUR www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | BG3
Chief editor-business: ANTHONY WILSON
Editing and design: NATASHA SAIDWAN
Fax: (868) 623-2050 (Editorial)
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22-24 St Vincent Street,
PO Box 122.
Not for the first time, I am writ-
ing this column from China---
in the Beijing Airport waiting
for a domestic flight to Shang-
hai, after a mix-up with the
flight arrangements that may yet see me having
to sleep on one of those hard airport chairs
surrounded equally stranded Chinese.
In some ways, it s been productive and eye-
opening trip, but in other ways, this has been
a troubling visit.
Going with the positive first, and proving
the point that there are Trinis everywhere in
the world who are excelling, there were some
extraordinary nationals at the official opening
of the T&T Embassy in China.
The first one was Nived Moonasar, a friendly
young man, who is studying to become an
eye surgeon in a relatively small town in central
China, who was saying he is doing more cor-
rective laser surgery there than almost any-
where else in the world. Nived took some leave
from his studies to come down to Beijing to
meet with the group of his countrymen at the
The other extraordinary young man is Kirk
John-Williams, who spent six years working
in China and who, to the untrained ear, speaks
Mandarin with all the flare of a native. Kirk
is now the business development manager at
his father s construction company and it
appears to me that his language skills have
placed the company in pole position to get
sub-contracting jobs from the many Chinese
construction companies who operate or are
about to operate in T&T.
The other young Trini who is doing great
things in China is Seje Henry-Hughes, a Fatima
old boy, who was head-hunted by a Shang-
hai-based property developer and sent to the
boondocks in China for one year to learn the
language. He is now the envelopment manager
at CDG Retail Management, where he scouts
for billion-dollar mall projects throughout the
And then there was Kevin Fleury, who did
very well at his MBA programme at the Arthur
Lok-Jack Graduate School of Business and is
now doing a PhD in China.
The other point about the opening of the
embassy is that all of the Beijing-based
Caribbean diplomats turned out, which was
a very strong signal of Caribbean solidarity.
It also indicates that many of our Caribbean
colleagues have been riding the Chinese dragon
for many, many years and that T&T is new
to the party in terms of establishing a presence
Can former Prime Minister Patrick Manning
explain why T&T did not establish a mission
in China during the 2002 to 2010 period when
he led the country and was responsible, more
than anybody, for the strengthening in the
relations between the two countries?
It is interesting and heavily ironic that our
current Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bisses-
sar, has been boasting all over Beijing that her
official residence was constructed by a Chinese
company. And she is right to do so and it is
accurate that a Chinese company did build
the official residence, but during the 2010
general election campaign, much heavy weather
was made of the fact that the previous admin-
istration made such use of Chinese construc-
The issue that has troubled all of the T&T
delegates in China has been the pollution and
the traffic in Beijing, which are of such a mag-
nitude that they have to be experienced to be
InvesTT president Racquel Moses likes to
say that the Western media likes to portray
a cold as pneumonia. But the truth of the
smog in China this week would be a case of
the Western media describing what is in fact
acute bronchitis as a cold.
Attempting to rush from one meeting to
another with Moses, and the agency s manager
of investor sourcing, Shymal Chandradaths-
ingh, it has been possible to experience both
the pollution and the traffic.
The smog that hovers over China s capital
reduces visibility on the huge thoroughfares
that course through Beijing to 200 metres at
most: the horizon comprises buildings shroud-
ed in thick, poisonous gunk. For the two days
that I have been here, the air has been rancid,
the sun has taken on an unnatural reddish hue
and to top off things, the temperature has
been consistently below 10º.
That the Chinese government has allowed
its magnificent capital---which represents the
tremendous achievements of thousands of
years of Chinese history---to descend into a
virtual something that is many times worse
than the Beetham dump on its very worse
days (such as last month), is troubling.
This is the same Chinese government whose
economic achievements in the last 30 years
have been miraculous.
It surely cannot be beyond the genius of
China to solve this problem so that visitors
will not fear for their health when they visit
China mission accomplished?
The Caribbean ambassadors and diplomats at yesterday's opening of the T&T Embassy in Beijing were, from left, Guyana's ambassador, David
Dabydeen, Barbados ambassador Dr Chelston Brathwaite and his wife, Grenada's ambassador Karl Hood, T&T ambassador Chandradath Singh,
Suriname's ambassador Dr Lloyd Pinas, the deputy head of mission for Bahamas, Sheila Carey, and Jacqueline Bell, Jamaica's Minister Counsellor.
Among the T&T nationals who have lived or are living in China were: Kevin Fleury, left, who is doing a PhD in management, Chinese business, Kirk
John Williams, second from right, who speaks fluent Mandarin, and Seje Henry-Hughes, who is the development manager for a Shanghai
property developer. The odd man out is Andy Shi, who works for a Chinese steel producer. PHOTOS: ANTHONY WILSON
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