Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon said T&T is “far behind” the fourth industrial revolution which is currently taking place.
“T&T has to find ways to catch up and we need to look at strengthening our various ecosystems hence the reason why micro and small businesses are so important,” the minister said during the consultation between the University of the West Indies (UWI), the private sector, state enterprises and the Government at the Hyatt Regency hotel on Monday.
And according to Sir Hilary Beckles, UWI Vice Chancellor, a shortage of skilled labour has been linked to the sluggish response of the economy.
Coupled with this, he said, is the lack of an alignment between the research and production systems and the policy framework of the State regarding tax incentives.
Beckles urged that the years of research which was compiled by UWI must be transferred in meaningful ways.
Noting that the region is currently at the bottom of the ladder regarding economic growth, Beckles said, “We have the energy because we are trying so hard to grow the region but we are not getting the results because the alignment is not right.
“We have the lowest of our young people in higher education and professional training. We are at the bottom of our hemisphere with our young people in any universities.”
He said the entrepreneurs and research professors were also “not talking to each other every single day.”
This is critical especially in forum-like committees to drive strategic plans forward, Beckles said.