|Robinson-Regis: Tamana InTech Park key to area’s development |
VERNE BURNETT Thursday, February 16 2017
The Tamana InTech Park is being seen as one of the keys to the development of north east Trinidad and Tobago, according to Minister of Planning and Development Camille Robinson-Regis.
She said that in addition to development of the park itself, the Government anticipates that there will also be peripheral development in terms of housing and businesses in such nearby communities as Sangre Grande, Cumuto, Manzanilla, La Horquetta-Talparo, D’Abadie and Arouca/Maloney.
She was speaking with journalists following a tour of the park last Friday. Several high commissioners and ambassadors based in Trinidad were invited to join the tour so they could collect information about the park and transmit that information to companies in their home countries that may be interested in doing business in Trinidad and Tobago.
The tour was organised by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. In her feature address, Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon said that when the People’s National Movement left office in 2010 more than 75 percent of the project had been completed.
She said the previous government had tried to outfit the Flagship Building on the park but placed “little or no emphasis” on developing the lots to be leased to companies.
She said that in September 2015, the Ministry of Trade and Industry through the Evolving Teknologies and Enterprise Development Company Limited (eTeck) prioritised the completion of the park and particularly the civil engineering works on 21 lots which covered more than 74 acres.
She said although it had been a decade since the idea for the park was conceived, the Government was ready to fully realise its vision of a “worldclass Science and Industrial Park” at Tamana.
Robinson-Regis said that with the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) and Alutech as anchor tenants at the park, the government anticipates that it will attract a wide range of industries such as the biomedical industry and with large lots the park will be able to accommodate all types of interests.
“Our focus really is to ensure that we develop Trinidad and Tobago as the area that people want to come to and I want to make the point that it is not only North American-based companies, we are looking at South/South co-operation.
We are looking at areas like Africa, we are looking at the Far East, we are looking at developing those kinds of relati onships.” In response to a questi on from journalists, Gopee-Scoon said the Chinese are interested in working on the park as well as with the UTT. “So we are very excited about it, invesTT is working very hard on it. We are very excited for the people of the areas surrounding here. It means a lot for the development of the enti re East-West Corridor, for employee creati on as well, foreign exchange earnings - many of the businesses that will be in here would be businesses that would be substanti ally exporters.” Pointi ng out that Google has already provided training to locals, Robinson-Regis said the government was not just interested in companies coming into the park but also in contributi ng to the development of the people so that they would be able to do their own development in the future.
In additi on, she said there was a local company that was interested in developing animati on soft ware that was specifi c to Trinidad and Tobago and that initi ati ve was being encouraged by the government as part of its Global Services Programme to encourage local development of the Informati on, Communicati on and Technology (ICT) sector.
Also addressing the tour parti cipants was Professor Emeritus Ken Julien, chairman of the Board of Governors of UTT, which is building a large campus on the park which Professor Julien said would become its core campus.
He said that UTT was not developed along the lines of a traditi onal university but its programmes had to be aligned with the needs and the perceived and projected needs of the country.
“We are looking at gaps, things that are not now being done or are not being done properly.
The whole area of the aviati on industry, that’s a gap there. We at UTT are providing work at the certi fi cate levels as well as the Bachelor of Science in Aircraft Maintenance and Management - it’s a need that’s there.” He said the whole questi on of security of food was becoming another area of importance and a priority in the country because Trinidad and Tobago imports a lot of food which is becoming diffi cult. He added that UTT is working on an acti ve bioscience agriculture and food technologies programme which is based at UTT’s Eastern Caribbean Insti tute of Agriculture and Forestry (ECIAF) campus at the moment but is one of the programmes the university would want to move into the park.
He also referred to the training of teachers, saying UTT had moved away from a two-year programme of training teachers to a four-year programme - a full Bachelor of Educati on but with an emphasis on the training of teachers and not just the academic element of a BA.
He said UTT was looking at other areas such as security and public safety to which he said it needed to accord a higher profi le and begin to train, educate and research to treat with the current crime situati on.
He said it was also important train at all levels – including the certi fi cate, diploma and bachelor levels – people who can contribute to law enforcement and the reducti on of crime.
He said another area in which the UTT could contribute to the development of Trinidad and Tobago was in the area of sports.
Recalling the country’s “dismal” showing at the 2016 Olympics games, Professor Julien said “we feel at UTT knowing the talent that we have that given the right training opportuniti es and with a very defi nite programme, maybe not four years from now, but maybe eight years from now because you have to have that kind of very planned programme.” He said that against this background UTT had taken on sports development as a challenge and developed the Elite Performance Group, which would identi fy top performers in sport and house and feed them. The university would pay for it and would insist that they are coached every day in their chosen fi eld and that they follow an academic programme so that they would have something to fall back on at the end of their sporti ng career.