Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is making his second visit to the African continent since becoming the Head of Government.
His trip to Ghana as a guest of the government and people of the West African country reinforces the close ties that have long existed between Ghana and T&T.
Dr Rowley's visit is important because the recent discovery of significant natural gas in Ghana and other African countries have created an opportunity for this country's companies and individuals to provide services to these new players in the energy sector.
Already several individuals have been working on the continent as consultants to governments, state companies and private sector entities.
What has not yet happened are investments in Ghana or other opportunities in Africa by local companies, both state-owned or private sector entities.
We remember too well how politics trumped common sense in the post-2010 election victory of the UNC-led coalition which scuttled an opportunity for the NGC to get a beach-head in Africa by delaying decision making and reviewing decisions simply because they were made by a previous administration.
It must also be remembered that it was during a trip to the African continent as a guest of the African Union that the late Prime Minister Patrick Manning offered T&T's expertise and experience to all of Africa, in effect opening the gateway to individuals and companies to meet with a continent open to working with a small but experienced energy country.
For this reason, we call on Prime MinisterbRowley not to waste this opportunity to deepen the relationship with Ghana, a country on the African continent with which T&T has long shared a special relationship.
There are opportunities for our service companies, for the NGC, for PPGPL, to get involved in activities similar to what they do in T&T.
In this time where elections are not far away, we urge that the country have a national strategy in the energy sector which must not be subject to the vagaries of the politics.
T&T is and has been a world-class hydrocarbon province. We have developed a lot of skills and knowledge over the last 100 years, but our companies and people have not taken those skills sufficiently global. We have not been able to invest enough and grow our businesses. Instead, we have been comfortable making a living from our natural resources.
The imperative of the day demands a new approach—an approach that sees the globe as one space in which we leverage our skills and talents to grow our businesses and our economy.
We wish Dr Rowley luck on his trip and hope it bears fruit and new opportunities.