Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says Government will increase activity in energy exploration as the State seeks to open up avenues for investment, both local and foreign. Yesterday, Cabinet was expected to sign off on six deep water bids, following several rounds of bidding. Speaking at Wednesday's Sixth Annual Business Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Gala Dinner hosted by the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce and held at the Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain, the Prime Minister said T&T's economic growth was still dependant on oil and gas and that government was intent on reaping its benefits. "Our emphasis, in the coming years, will be to maximise our potential returns from this industry. The Government has taken a strategic decision to extract the maximum value from our molecules of natural gas. To this end, the Ministry of Energy has been facilitating discussions with stakeholders in the manufacturing, banking and energy sectors.
We believe that the local manufacturing sector can use the Melamine produced by the recently commissioned AUM plant to usher in a new generation of energy-based industries in Trinidad and Tobago. In this way we can develop new industries by synergising competitive advantages of the both the manufacturing and energy sectors," said Persad-Bissessar. She said her recent trips abroad were, by and large, opportunities which were grasped to heighten the image of T&T abroad in a strategic and targeted manner. Meetings in Washington and London, she said, not only strengthened this country's diplomatic presence, but allowed it to pursue a strategy of becoming a conduit, a link between the Commonwealth and the Americas. The Prime Minister admitted to being heartened by an initiative taken by local energy services companies to look beyond T&T for opportunities.
She viewed this as a vision that T&T with its wealth of experience and highly skilled workforce would become an energy services hub, supplying services to Caribbean, Latin America and Africa. "This initiative is in line with our policy to diversify our economy away from depleting resources and towards sustainable development. This is the type of vision is needed. "As I speak, negotiations are ongoing with the Commonwealth Business Council and the Council of Americas to formulate a joint business forum which will be held by Trinidad and Tobago in 2011. "Now more than ever, the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago should work hard to stabilize the local economy and rebuild its society under the guided principles of transparency and accountability. "Trinidad and Tobago has always, and will always prove to be a nation that promotes prosperity, facilitates innovation, creates wealth, promotes democratic governance and most importantly, improves the standard of living for all our citizens," Persad-Bissessar said.