Tamana Intech Park a failure?

Dinesh Rambally -
Dinesh Rambally -


IN LIGHT OF Prime Minister Rowley’s recent suggestion that his Cabinet somehow saved the country through its management of the energy sector, assuming it wasn’t an April Fools’ prank, it is worth analysing this and other areas of the Government’s economic management.

One project that needs to be made public is hidden from the general population within the former Waller Field aerodrome: Eteck’s Tamana Intech Park, headed by Prof Ken Julien, who was both the chairman of Eteck and the University of TT. It was conceived as a technological hub that would drive economic growth and foster innovation. However, the reality unfolded quite differently, and ended in failure.

False start

This park was conceptualised to be a high-technology park with specialised zones of economic activity and international tenants. After more than a billion dollars invested, it remains largely unoccupied. In fact, there is only one tenant: Iqor. If you visit Eteck’s website you will see the amount of vacant lots available.

The park has two main buildings, the Eteck head office and the UTT head office. The two buildings were supposed to be the first two LEED (leadership in energy and environmental design) buildings in the country. However, this idea was scrapped during the construction. An examination of the buildings today would reveal that the companies are hard-pressed to maintain them in the manner originally planned.

Reality sets in

Despite the lofty ambitions, the Tamana Intech Park faced numerous challenges from the start that contributed to its failure. Problems with the selected Chinese contractor led to costly delays, work stoppages, scope changes and overall inefficiency. The envisioned collaboration between local and international entities remained elusive, as potential investors hesitated to commit to a project that showed signs of stagnation.

The lack of critical infrastructure, such as reliable transportation links, further hindered the park's growth. Businesses require a conducive environment to thrive, and the failure to provide essential services deterred potential tenants.

After realising the design and conceptualisation failure, Eteck consulted with many external parties for a possible solution. They visited Costa Rica in a last-ditch effort to solicit tenants or to find a possible buyer. They were advised that this idea was too late in the making.

Changing dynamics and global trends

The dynamics of the technology and business landscape were evolving rapidly during the development of Tamana Intech Park. The global tech industry witnessed a shift towards more flexible and remote working models, which impacted the demand for traditional office spaces. The park's failure to adapt to these changing trends left it at a disadvantage.

Furthermore, the competition in the region for tech-related investments increased, with other countries such as Costa Rica offering more attractive incentives and a better business environment. TT's failure to position itself as a competitive destination for technology and innovation further diminished the prospects of Tamana Intech Park.

Poor execution and foresight

The problem with the concept was the then PNM government thought it would follow the Dubai model of “build and they would come.” However, it forgot some basic concepts. Having infrastructure by itself is not an incentive for foreign direct investment (FDI). Investors wanted to see a low crime rate, low barriers to entry to do business, low level of bureaucracy, efficient functioning of government institutions including the justice system, and a high level of university graduates in the required fields.

Instead, what they saw was an outline of infrastructure, a high crime rate, gridlocked traffic, very inefficient institutions of state, no co-ordination with business and tertiary education on meeting the necessary skill requirements, a continuing decline in the ease of doing business index, and a continuing decline in the corruption perception index, and negative travel advisories from the US and UK.


The Government owes an explanation to the population for the Tamana Intech Park and its lack of vision and foresight, which have cost taxpayers in excess of $1 billion with nothing to show. This is not an anomaly, as this scenario is typical of the PNM’s vision – older people might recall “white elephant” projects of the 1980s which haunt us today.

Dinesh Rambally is the MP for Chaguanas West


"Tamana Intech Park a failure?"

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