Jamaica | Mar 16, 2023

T&T hailing its growing business with Jamaica

/ Our Today

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On the final day of a trade mission to Trinidad (March 10), Senator Aubyn Hill (left), Jamaica’s minister of industry, investment and commerce, held a special meeting with Colm Imbert, Trinidad and Tobago’s minister of finance, and the Jamaican delegation. (Photo: Twitter @@Jamprocorp)

Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Finance Colm Imbert is hailing the twin-island republic’s growing business ties with Jamaica, saying the relationship between the two Caribbean neighbours continues to develop, as they build stronger ties through trade and commerce.

Imbert cited the Musson/Seprod deal through which the Jamaican companies acquired T&T’s Brydens Group in June 2022 and T&T’s Guardian Holdings’ acquisition by NCB Jamaica in May 2019.

Speaking during a Jamaican producers trade mission to T&T last week, Imbert declared that the buyouts left Brydens and Guardian Holdings better off.

Senator Aubyn Hill addresses those gathered for a meeting during the trade mission to Trinidad and Tobago last week. Looking on are Kelli-Dawn Hamilton, interim CEO at Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority; Colm Imbert (second right), Trinidad and Tobago’s minister of finance; and Arthur Williams, Jamaica’s ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago.

The trade mission was a collaboration between the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce and Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO). The two-day mission ran from March 9-10 at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain and followed a recent T&T trade mission to Jamaica, where Senator Aubyn Hill, Jamaica’s industry, investment and commerce minister, accepted his T&T counterpart, Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon’s invitation to lead a reciprocal business mission to T&T.

Jamaican companies participating

Eighteen Jamaican companies and entities participated with a total of 25 participants. Elaborating on NCB’s acquisition of Guardian Holdings during his presentation, Imbert said Jamaica’s largest banking conglomerate, NCB Financial Group, has finalised the acquisition of an additional 74.23 million shares in Guardian Holdings, which doubles its ownership of the regional insurance group to 62 per cent at a cost of US$207 million (J$28 billion).

“NCB took over Guardian and it has been going very well from what I see,” T&T News Day quoted Imbert as saying, making reference to the oil shock of 2015. During that time, the state lost US$3 billion owing to a fall in the price of oil from US$100 to US$25 in 2016.

Senator Aubyn Hill, Jamaica’s minister of industry, investment and commerce, greets his Trinidad counterpart, Senator Paula Gopee-Scoon, minister of trade and industry, ahead of a special breakfast meeting on March 9 in Trinidad and Tobago. (Photo: Twitter @@Jamprocorp)

The T&T finance minister highlighted recent positive developments in the local economy, as it moves toward building a diverse economy. He reinforced the important of incentivising farmers, saying agriculture is to be made completely tax-free.

According to Hill, “this is how we must work together to ensure our countries develop the way we want them to develop. Partnership is the name of the game… recently the Musson Group acquired Brydens, which is a well-established company, but you won’t recognise it in a few years”.

Hill said the company will change and work well across the region.

Economic strides in Jamaica

The Jamaican Cabinet minister reinforced the optimistic rhetoric, highlighting economic strides being made in Jamaica where the trade deficit with T&T is 35:11, Jamaica being out of the International Monetary Fund programme and a reduced general consumption tax, which was cut from 16.5 per cent to 15 per cent and has not been increased in six years.

“I am happy to be leading the delegation to ensure we continue to grow and expand collectively in a way we hadn’t in the past – a better way,” said Hill.

Kelli-Dawn Hamilton, interim CEO at Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority.

Kelli-Dawn Hamilton, interim CEO at Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority, who was part of the Jamaican touring party, remarked: “We have a long history of partnership, we have a long history of commitment to each other and think this trade mission is the perfect example, a culmination of that strong tradition and rich history.”

Hamilton said members of the Jamaican delegation are excited and energised by the opportunity presented in TT, and likewise TT delegates are energised by opportunities in Jamaica.


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