Gonzales: Environmentally friendly policies coming

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales. –

Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales has said two weeks ago, the government approved three “major” policies which will affect the environment in a “very significant way” and generate millions of dollars in foreign exchange while creating employment opportunities in many communities.

He was speaking with the media after the Carib Brewery ribbon-cutting ceremony for its Line 7 at the brewery on the Eastern Main Road, Champs Fleurs.

Gonzales said the first policy is integrated waste management. The second is focused on recycling and the third is about the beverage container policy.

“Over the years, the population would have heard mainly about the beverage container policy. While it is a significant component of waste management, it is just one component.”

Gonzales cited tyres and electronic waste as other main pollutants and believes the proposed policy will move towards legislation that encompasses a “holistic approach.”

He said the integrated waste management policy will guide all the policies and regulations necessary and comes at the right time, as Carib has extended its production line.

“It simply means we are setting a legislative framework to manage, transform, and turn waste into revenue-generating measures.“

Gonzales was tight-lipped on the details of the policy and any future government campaigns, saying only that future plans will create entrepreneurial activities that will develop communities.

“The government is talking about an industry that can be spawned and will employ thousands of low-skilled and unskilled labourers.“

Gonzales said the public can expect “major announcements” from the Solid Waste Management Company in June under the Ministry of Public Utilities.

“The country will learn more about what the government approved.”

Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, speaking at the event, said she was pleased with the company’s sustainability initiatives within the expansion. She praised Carib for its increased promotion of returnable glass bottles and environmentally conscious processes and practices.

“Consumers are growing more conscious of the products and services they use, understanding their informed choices can encourage companies to adopt practices that are both profitable and sustainable.”

Gopee-Scoon congratulated the company for its recognition at the Champions of Business Awards last year, where it won Business of the Year. The event was hosted by the TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce and sponsored by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).

She said the MTI is working to grow and diversify its non-energy manufacturing sector. She said from 2020-2023 exports from the non-energy manufacturing sector increased by approximately $1.9 billion. She cited the challenges of the covid19 pandemic.

“It was not just challenging for local and regional businesses but also globally. In 2023, according to provisional data by the Central Statistical Office, the MTI estimated that non-energy manufacturing exports were approximately $12.8 billion, which is 25 per cent of total exports.”

She described the subsector as being the second largest by export value and having maintained its position over the period 2020-2023.

Gopee-Scoon said during the period, the sector grew by 35 per cent from $2.3 billion in 2020 to $3.1 billion in 2023.

“This performance is a testament to the sub-sector’s vitality and potential.”

Gopee-Scoon commended Carib for its “noteworthy contributions to the sector.” For the last four years, locally produced beer has remained among the top exported commodities from the subsector.

“The Trade Ministry remains committed to paving the way for domestic companies to capitalise on international opportunities.”

She said government trade missions also play a pivotal role in boosting the visibility of existing exporting companies and creating potential partners and buyers in targeted markets.