Gopee-Scoon tells investment forum: Caribbean the place to do business

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Performers re-enact an old-time Tobago wedding at the Caribbean Investment Forum reception, Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain on Tuesday. – ANGELO MARCELLE

Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon says the Caribbean is eager to attract investment from global companies while strengthening trade relations among regional partners.

This is the second investment forum for the year, with the first being held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

A virtual investment forum was held in Trinidad last year.

Speaking during the welcome reception of the Caribbean Investment Forum at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port of Spain, on Tuesday night, Gopee-Scoon thanked the participants for their interest in the event and emphasised the value of such activities in promoting growth in different sectors.

Commenting on the theme of this year’s forum, Building a Smarter, Greener Caribbean, Gopee-Scoon said now more than ever innovation was needed to drive development, and was optimistic the events would contribute to forging new, productive partnerships.

She also encouraged international participants to make full use of the forum’s networking activities and touted the Caribbean as a good place to nurture new investments.

“Please take the time while you’re here to meet with the representatives of the governments and national investment-promotion agencies that will assist you in finding those opportunities that you seek.

“The Caribbean is already leaning to towards a more sustainable future, and we are increasingly optimistic about our prospects to earn a place on the global stage.

Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon at the opening of the Caribbean Investment Forum on Tuesday night at the Hyatt Regency,Port of Spain. – ANGELO MARCELLE

“Never before has the Caribbean been more committed to a common cause that will benefit the region and, more importantly, that will benefit our people. Natural resources, our culture and our desire to continuously strive to be part of and help set the global agenda will ensure that the Caribbean is seen as the place to be and the place to do business.”

Gopee-Scoon added that the forum would focus on areas of agricultural technologies, information and communications technology (ICT), renewable energy and transport logistics, but other fields would also be featured.

Speaking with Newsday after the event, director of the Caribbean Export Development Agency Deodath Maharaj said he was pleased with the overwhelming response of international companies.

He said the forum was not intended to simply promote more investments but specifically investments in areas which could drive regional growth and development.

“It’s going to be an exciting time, because what we recognised at the Caribbean Expo is that it’s not just about change, but driving change to have the maximum possible impact

“It’s about jobs and opportunities for our people.

“The work that we do – we want to get investment in the sectors that can drive transformation to create jobs and opportunities for our people. But governments across the region don’t have the money to do it on their own…what we need is to get investors and to build a partnership of business to advance this agenda.”

Business development director of the London Consulting Group Esteban Jauregui said he was confident the forum would foster more networking among regional and international companies, while allowing for interesting cultural exchanges.