Marc Sandy, Coordinator of the Relief Efforts and Team Lead Business Development, (centre)

The contribution of the Joint Chambers: Marc Sandy

Coordinator of the Relief Efforts and Team Lead Business Development, Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association (TTMA).

The cataclysmic impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria on the Caribbean islands of St. Maarten, Barbuda, Anguilla, Dominica and BVI created an outpouring of support from neighbouring islands of the region. Trinidad and Tobago immediately adopted a major role in providing relief for as many of these affected islands as possible; the private sector, in particular, marshalled considerable resources from major corporate citizens in an effort to ensure that the basic survival needs of citizens of the affected countries were attended to. In hindsight, the role of the private sector cannot be understated, especially given the immediacy of the needs and the demand for manufactured products to be sent with urgency. The various Chambers of Commerce engaged their wide community of stakeholders, which comprised of suppliers of foodstuff, household products and building materials, as well as members of the shipping fraternity that graciously arranged to have most of the cargo shipped to the affected islands at considerably reduced costs.

Mention must be made of the collaboration between the private sector and the government, both of which made valuable concessions to meet these severely damaged countries at their points of need. In as much as the rebuild effort for these countries will, over time prove to be of greater significance to their future sustainability, the private sector must be commended for facilitating immediate relief, a necessary first step in their re-development.