Molino expects US to "come with extra drive" in Trinidad & Tobago rematch
ST. PAUL, Minn. – As if there weren’t already enough potential emotion surrounding the US men’s national team’s first chance to play Trinidad and Tobago since T&T knocked them out of 2018 World Cup ...
Panama beats Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 in CONCACAF Gold Cup at Allianz Field
Minnesota United midfielder Kevin Molino couldn't lead his national team to victory in his MLS club's home stadium. Trinidad and Tobago fell 2-0 to Panama on Tuesday at Allianz Field in the first game ...
(Reuters) - Panama scored two second-half goals en route to a 2-0 Gold Cup win over Trinidad and Tobago in Saint Paul, Minnesota on Tuesday. After a lackluster first half, Panama took the lead in the ...
Panama 2, Trinidad & Tobago 0 | 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup Match Recap
Panama opened up its 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup campaign with an ultimately decisive 2-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago in the Group D opener at Allianz Field on Tuesday evening. The match started with four ...
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — An earthquake with a magnitude of 4.7 rattled Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday, but there were no immediate reports of injury or damage. The Seismic Research Centre (SRC) ...
DATAMARK Inc. Visits Trinidad & Tobago in Outreach Trip
EL PASO, Texas, June 16, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Volunteers from DATAMARK, a leading Business Process Outsourcing company, recently participated in a large-scale donation drive and outreach trip. ...
10 Artists To Watch From Trinidad And Tobago (2019 Edition)
Every year, thousands of revelers from across the world travel to Trinidad and Tobago for what’s been aptly titled the greatest show on earth: Carnival. Sexy soca fills up the streets of Port of Spain ...
Meet Lesley-Ann Bernard, owner of Green Thumb Growers, an agri-business based in Diamond Vale, Diego Martin that is bringing super greens and micro greens to TT. Bernard's produce ranges from kale and swiss chard, to lettuce, arugula and microgreens – which are the shoots of salad vegetables picked just after the first leaves have developed.
Bernard started the business about three years ago as a hobby and now runs it full time. Her journey began with an aquaponics system, which uses waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic creatures to supply the nutrients for plants grown hydroponically. The plants in turn purify the water. She had been doing research into aquaponic systems for a while and decided to try koi as her fish of choice versus the more commonly used tilapia. When she researched the cost factors of rearing tilapia, she realised that she would have out priced herself in the produce market, as the costs were quite high.
[caption id="attachment_771327" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Lesley-Ann Bernard, owner of Green Thumb Growers, tends to her produce. Photo by Antony Scully[/caption]
For Bernard, this was a retirement plan. Her family owned land in Cumuto that wasn’t really being used, and she decided that agriculture was an option. “I just kind of dabbled in it. Then I started posting pictures of the produce on social media and people started to message me saying they wanted produce that was pesticide-safe and that’s how it was all born.”
Things changed for Bernard in January when she learned of her impending retrenchment from her job at an advertising agency. “I said I’m already doing this, so let’s monetise it and scale it accordingly and jump into it full time.” She’s glad she got the push. “When you look back on it, you may feel that the rug is being pulled out from under you. You ask what are you going to do. The security of a stable income every month is of course a lovely thing. But then when you get too comfortable you find the universe pushes you in a direction that makes you uncomfortable so you can grow.” She admits if her retrenchment hadn’t happened she wouldn’t have been able to invest all of this time into her business and actually expand the way it has. “I’m at a point right now where I can’t meet my orders 100 per cent, so it is just a matter of continuing to grow and grow.”
[caption id="attachment_771326" align="alignnone" width="720"] Rainbow swiss chard. Photo courtesy Green Thumb Growers Facebook Page[/caption]
There are two sides to the business that is Green Thumb Growers. The super greens and leafy greens which have a weekly turnover and then the microgreens, which are grown indoors and take up to seven or eight days to harvest. Bernard supplies her produce mainly by delivery as far as south Trinidad and she also has one retail spot – Bodega in the West Hills Development in Petit Valley, not too far from her base. “The reason I reached out to Bodega is I wanted to see what the uptake would be in a retail outlet. And it was good.” But it is all about managing her deliveries and adding retail outlets bit by bit. “Microgreens is not yet a big thing in Trinidad. You’ll get it at a fancy restaurant at a particular price point but to say someone is actually purchasing a container of microgreens just to eat or have a salad, it is still new.”
That novelty factor was one of the reasons she chose microgreens. “It’s not something that is readily available everywhere, so it gives me a competitive advantage. Also because of the turnover time, it’s quick and easy and it’s indoors. I don’t have to add any fertiliser or nutrients to it. It’s simply water." Bernard was introduced to microgreens and super greens, such as swiss chard, when she lived in Canada. “I didn’t want to do any mass market items. I wanted to do more gourmet type stuff and be unique.”
[caption id="attachment_771325" align="alignnone" width="720"] Packaged greens by GreenThumb Growers on the shelves at Bodega in West Hills Development. Photo courtesy Green Thumb Growers Facebook Page[/caption]
Bernard also attributes her success on her foray into business before – she ran a media monitoring company – and her career in advertising. “It has certainly helped with the marketing and branding. I think that helps me make the product even more attractive. We are accustomed getting produce in a plastic bag and I try to stay away from that type of single use plastic that’s why I use brown paper bags. I use a stamp and I stamp my bags instead of using stickers. But definitely the branding and understanding of how to target and tap into my audience comes from my skill sets in advertising and media."
Her research skills help as well. “What you find happening with farms in Trinidad is they would have the farming side of the business down but then they have no-one to sell their product to, because they haven’t done the research, or they don’t know how to write a business plan. I’ve been fortunate that I have the business acumen going into this.” And her quest for knowledge is on-going.
[caption id="attachment_771322" align="alignnone" width="960"] An idea of how to use greens in innovative ways: a bagel, cream cheese and arugula sandwich. Photo courtesy Green Thumb Growers Facebook Page[/caption]
“I believe knowledge is key to everything. So even though you may do something and you understand the practicality of it, the actual information is tied together when you do a course and get the academic information.”
Bernard attends free courses hosted monthly by the Ministry of Agriculture which take place at various locations in central and south Trinidad. She again used her research skills and went to the ministry’s website and saw that the information is all there. She also went on to share the information on her social media channels so that others can take advantage of the free courses. After attending a few, Bernard sees agriculture as gaining some sort of popularity as the classes were always well-attended. “There are a lot of women at these courses. And then you have some very young people and you have the retirees. You have traditional farmers and then people who have absolutely no experience who just want to start a home garden. It’s a very interesting mix. The information is definitely out there.”
[caption id="attachment_771319" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Lesley Bernard and her daughter, Kaitlyn tending to their crops.[/caption]
As for the big wins since her journey began, one definitely has been getting her teenage daughter, Kaitlyn, involved. “(It’s been great) getting my daughter involved and actually seeing her excited and wanting to be a part of it. We’ve done a few health fairs and pop ups and she basically runs the show.”
So what’s next for Green Thumb Growers? It’s all about expanding. Bernard is involved in a project right now with the Cropper Foundation, the National Agricultural Marketing and Development Corporation (Namdevco) and the ministry which involves training on pesticides and, ultimately, will result in the testing of produce from various farmers by the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute, so that produce can be certified as pesticide-safe. Massy Stores has agreed to stock the supply in two of its stores. Namdevco will do the packaging and it will be available to the public. “So Trinidad is on the cusp of finally having some sort of certification.”
[caption id="attachment_771320" align="alignnone" width="768"] Lettuce grown by Lesley-Ann Bernard using aquaponics.[/caption]
Bernard is well on her way but what’s her advice for those contemplating getting into agriculture?
“Grow what you like first. Grow what you like to eat and make sure you understand the hours that are needed.”
Agriculture is an industry that is being explored as a way to diversify our economy here in TT and the list of companies that supply innovative goods and services for this sector is certainly growing. One such firm is Green Age Farms, based in Freeport, which provides everything needed to start a farm, regardless of size, while using the latest agri-technology.
Green Age Farms’ main expertise falls within the area of vertical hydroponic farming, which is highly space and water efficient. The combination of hydroponics, which is the process of growing plants in sand, gravel, or liquid, with added nutrients but without soil, and vertical farming, which is growing produce in vertically stacked layers, results in an innovative solution for the home gardener all the way to the large commercial farmer.
So how did husband and wife team, Faariah Khan-Singh and Kevin Singh, both process engineers, happen on a venture such as Green Age? “We started hydroponics as a means to earn an additional income by growing and supplying produce. We tried a lot of different types of hydroponics systems but none of them provided what we needed. They used too much space, were tedious to set up and required a lot of time for monitoring and adjusting,” recalled Khan-Singh.
[caption id="attachment_771310" align="alignnone" width="720"] The Green Age agriculture system in use. Photo courtesy Green Age Farms Facebook Page[/caption]
They researched many different options before eventually deciding to go with the Mr Stacky vertical hydroponics system. “We loved it and thought that people would love it as well,” she added. They knew there was a need for an all-round service that made it easy for people to get started and succeed at hydroponics, while providing innovative and sustainable solutions for the more experienced hydroponic farmers. “We were able to secure the distributorship for the Mr Stacky and Spring Pots brands. With the backing from these international manufacturers, we were able to further promote our brand and systems.”
[caption id="attachment_771309" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Example of Mr Stacky system by Green Age Farms. Photo courtesy Green Age Farms[/caption]
One of the major challenges they’ve faced since launching the brand is introducing the concept to the local market. “Since our system was completely different to the more conventional hydroponic methods that were used locally and traditionally in farming, it was important to build an awareness for our product and service and highlight the advantages using our systems.” But now that the brand is fully launched and operational, Green Age lets their customers speak for them. “We continue to get a lot of referrals from customers who used our system.”
The popularity of the system was not only due to its general ease of use but also as a result of a demo system that Green Age made available to illustrate to potential customers the easy installation and low maintenance levels. These demos, Khan-Singh said, show “the high efficiencies of the system in terms of space, nutrients and power that resulted in low operating costs with high use.”
[caption id="attachment_771312" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Tomatoes grown using the the Green Age Farms agriculture system. Photo courtesy Green Age Farms Facebook Page[/caption]
Green Age now has several customers who use their systems for home gardens – many of whom are new to gardening in general, much less hydroponics. “They were really impressed and happy that they were able to successfully use the systems to provide high quality produce for their family and also drastically cut down on their market bill. They were so happy with the results that some even expanded on a commercial scale.”
One of the recent companies to engage Green Farm is Hyatt Regency. “We were really excited about the farm to table project at Hyatt. We were actually approached by them to work on this project together using our systems. They were looking for a sustainable way of growing their own fresh produce to supply the hotel’s needs,” said Khan-Singh. “Within three weeks, after the system was set up, they were already harvesting fresh produce. They harvested six different types of lettuce, including romaine lettuce, and continue to harvest other produce.” Green Age also provided training to the staff at the Hyatt, and they have been able to successfully operate their system.
[caption id="attachment_771312" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Tomatoes grown using the the Green Age Farms agriculture system. Photo courtesy Green Age Farms Facebook Page[/caption]
“We’ve got a lot of great feedback from the Hyatt on how easy the system is to operate, and the high quality and yield of the produce grown. They also got great feedback for their guests who were very impressed with the produce used from the garden.”
Green Age also has a couple of clients with catering businesses, who produce fresh ingredients for their meals, as well as some produce delivery businesses, who supply customers directly with fresh produce. “We also have a lot of clients using our systems to supply supermarkets and restaurants and to homes (who want to) supply healthy fresh produce for their families,” said Khan-Singh.
[caption id="attachment_771311" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Beans grown using the the Green Age Farms agriculture system. Photo courtesy Green Age Farms Facebook Page[/caption]
The Ministry of Agriculture has also used Green Age’s vertical systems as a demo at their site. It is currently set up at their Aquaculture Unit in Valsayn and is used as part of their training initiatives. “We have also spoken to the Agricultural Development Bank, which is on board with providing financing for any of our systems.”
Green Age’s goal is to encourage more people to grow their own food, whether it be for home use or commercial use.
“We believe that this can greatly improve the level of food security within TT and help reduce the food import bill and promote healthier lifestyles.”
“Employers are demanding that workers for the 21st century must possess the knowledge, technical skills, and “soft-skills” to function effectively and be competitive in the workplace. To attain this level of competitiveness, workers must be lifelong learners who will continue to increase their knowledge and update their skills, for upward mobility in the workplace.”
Unemployment continues to be one of the biggest issues facing many countries today, with governments devoting countless resources towards policies and initiatives aimed at meeting the employment demands of their ever-increasing populations. The Caribbean is no exception.
Despite a small drop in average unemployment rates in Latin America and the Caribbean over the past year, slow economic growth coupled with uncertainty around future trends and rising youth unemployment continue to give some cause for concern. (ILO World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2019)
Thousands of students across the Caribbean graduate from universities and other tertiary education institutions annually and are facing the reality that being qualified is simply not enough and that additional skills may be needed to increase chances of sustainable employability in such a competitive and challenging environment.
Although finance professionals are in demand, competition for job vacancies and internships remains fierce. In turn, this has contributed to a rise in employer expectations who are increasingly looking for candidates who not only stand out but can also prove they understand what it takes to succeed in the workplace.
So what exactly are finance sector employers looking for? And how can you ensure that you are at the top of the list? Here are eight skills that improve employability, together with tips on how to demonstrate them.
Managers will expect you to work largely unsupervised on a day-to-day basis, so they need to know you can make responsible decisions on your own that result in a positive outcome. One of the best demonstrations of "taking the initiative" is relevant training and work experience. Undertaking roles or placements, and courses in both core technical subjects and some of the broader skills listed below, provides evidence of your ability to define the requirements of tasks and implement them successfully.
Responsible decision-making demands strong commercial acumen, which describes your ability to understand business situations and apply your expertise accordingly. Alongside the technical know-how gained through your core qualifications, you will need to gather a much broader range of relevant knowledge. Your ability to do this can be demonstrated in interviews by researching the wider industry that your potential employer is in, how current affairs affect it, and any other relevant influences and facts.
Employers want evidence that you can deliver projects and tasks reliably, ethically and in a way that adds value to their organisation. The other skills in this article all contribute to professionalism, as do personal standards such as time-keeping, appearance and your ability to treat colleagues with respect.
Adding value to an organisation tends to come through seeing new ways to undertake tasks or solve problems. Therefore, look for ways to demonstrate your ability to bring something new to the employer without undermining the fundamental requirements of the profession. Rather than arriving at an interview with speculative ideas that might be off the mark, demonstrate how you were able to add value to something you undertook in the past, particularly in a work role or placement.
Every task you undertake will have some form of deadline. This might be preparing a document for a weekly meeting, delivering a project to a specific timeframe, or achieving a major initiative in key milestones. Employers will value your ability to plan workloads to meet timescales, and respond to challenging deadlines when the need arises – even if it sometimes means working outside regularly scheduled business hours.
Communication and presentation
Written and oral communication skills are as fundamental to employability as technical qualifications. Naturally, this means paying close attention to the wording of your CV, covering letter and any mock assignments you are asked to prepare. Interviews give employers the chance to assess your presentation skills, so prepare well and rehearse as much as possible. For example, undertake research about common interview questions, and craft answers that demonstrate a range of employability skills without sounding forced. It’s a good idea to find a relevant mentor to help, even if it’s just to provide feedback on what you have prepared.
The ability to work well with colleagues is paramount, and being able to reference team-working examples from work roles or placements will help to demonstrate this. Other activities can also contribute, such as participation in team sports. Acting as a team captain can be particularly appealing to employers as it demonstrates leadership potential for a later point in your career. Employers willing to invest in career development will be looking for candidates that can grow with their organisation.
Throughout your career, the majority of opportunities will come through relationships with others, making the ability to network an important skill to have. Employment fairs, business events and interviews are all opportunities to expand your network of contacts, and there are many advice websites on how to network effectively. Most important is to remember who you meet. A good tip is to write down a memorable fact about the person on the back of their business card or in a notebook.
Where to get started? Join job board communities like ACCA Careers, volunteer, you can pick up great teamwork and other soft skills that way and stay up to date by reading the business news, joining relevant industry and professional groups on LinkedIn and getting involved with discussions.
Business Day Editorial: Opening up the Central Bank
It is admirable that Government has taken steps to increase transparency and accountability with regards to the Central Bank. Under Section 56 (1) of the Central Bank Act, the bank’s officers are exempt from sharing any information with the public arising from the course of their work. As such, under the Freedom of Information (Exemption) … Continue reading Business Day Editorial: Opening up the Central Bank
On June 1, the Eastern Horticultural Club's opened its two-day plant and garden show, My Garden, My Sanctuary, at The Courtyard, Trinity College East, Trincity.
Even before its 10 am start time, people waited patiently to purchase from the more than 60 vendors on site with a variety of soils, plants, plant pots, fertilisers and garden accessories.
[caption id="attachment_771296" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Anisha Cuffy-Persad, right, sells an Angelino plant to a customer, at the Eastern Horticultural Club’s plant and garden show, Trinity College East, Trincity. Photo by Angelo Marcelle[/caption]
From gerberas to bromeliad, orchids to excoecaria cochinchinensis, citrus, fruits, seasonings and herbs, the show was a plant lover's heaven.
Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries, Clarence Rambharat was in attendance and again celebrated the .double Chaconia replacing the single Chaconia as the national flower.
[caption id="attachment_771299" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Plant lovers view the wide variety at the Eastern Horticultural Club’s plant and garden show. Photo by Angelo Marcelle[/caption]
“Recently in Senate we approved the Bill that would re-designate the national flower to the double Chaconia, which is unique to Trinidad and Tobago. It has been a 60-year debate,” he shared with Business Day.
The minister also spoke of the importance of wildlife and flora, singling out improvements at the Caroni Bird Sanctuary. There has been an increase in the flamingo population at the sanctuary which, he explained, is the result of stringent protection measures.
[caption id="attachment_771294" align="alignnone" width="1024"] A trolley of plants. Photo by Angelo Marcelle[/caption]
“Trinidadians and Tobagonians love their plants and their flowers and I am trying to get them to love animals and birds. We have seen it (flamingo), grow from 35, two years ago, to 260. The ministry would be bringing two experts.... one is an expert on disaster management for livestock and the other’s expertise is on the flamingo.” The avian expert will also help to develop an area of the sanctuary to attract more flamingoes and sustain those already there.
[caption id="attachment_771295" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Centeno's Farmer Training Centre agricultural officer Merle Seedial, looks for fungus on a catus at a free plant clinic, at the Eastern Horticultural Club’s plant and garden show. Photo by Angelo Marcelle[/caption]
The minister said the flamingo comes from regions that have harsh dry seasons, and mainly migrate from Venezuela.
CIVIL society groups welcomed the Government's decision to withdrawal the controversial clause seven of the Miscellaneous Provisions (Tax Amnesty, Pensions, Freedom of Information, National Insurance, Central Bank and Non-Profit Organisations) Bill, 2019 which was passed, with amendments, in the Senate on Monday night. Media Association of TT (MATT) president Sheila Rampersad declared this was a proud moment for MATT, civil society and TT.
She noted the symposium MATT hosted last Saturday provided a fulcrum to the conversation on amendments to the FOIA, saying whenever civil society intervenes in these situations, good law is made better. She said the FOIA is good law and good law always endures.
Law Association president Douglas Mendes, SC, commended Government for withdrawing clause seven, saying the Government showed maturity in responding to the public's concern.
Activist Afra Raymond said the FOIA needed to be fortified to ensure there is greater access to freedom of information and welcomed any public consultations to be had on FOIA.
Fixin TT head Kirk Waithe noted the removal of clause seven and that the FOIA remains unchanged. Waithe was critical of Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi. Like Anand Ramlogan, Waithe said Al-Rawi had "no business" being this country's AG, claiming, "His incompetence is compounded by the painfully strained relationship he seems to have with the truth."
As the adverse weather warning issued by the Met Office continues until 4 pm, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) has said water levels in major rivers remain at an acceptable level.
According to a report from the ODPM, the Water Resources Agency said the El Mamo, Aripo, Caroni, Tumpuna and Mausica rivers, as well as the Caroni River at El Carmen and Tumpuna Road, were all slightly elevated because of the rain which fell over the past 24 hours, but remain well within threshold levels.
The ODPM added that it remains in contact with the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government to ensure an immediate response to anyone who might need help because of the bad weather.
THE ten-year-old girl who was shot on Independence Square in Port of Spain on Monday remains in a stable condition at hospital as police try to determine why gunmen targeted her uncle, putting her in the line of fire.
Police sources say the child was stabilised shortly after being brought to hospital and she was later interviewed as investigations into the shooting continued.
At about 4.30 pm on Monday, the girl was being put in a car seat by her uncle, identified only by his alias, “Chinee,” outside the HDC apartment block at Duncan Street and Independence Square.
Just then gunmen came up from behind and fired several shots at the girl's uncle, with his car being shot up in the processs. One of the bullets struck the child in her chest.
Her mother who was also in the car, escaped unharmed.
Early elections as CCJ upholds Guyana’s no-confidence vote
The Caribbean Court of Justice Tuesday morning ruled that the December 21 No Confidence Motion was properly passed with a vote of 33 members in the 65-seat National Assembly.
The case centers around the no-confidence motion in the coalition government led by President David Granger, which was passed by the 65 member assembly by a slim 33 to 32 majority on December 21, last year. The motion succeeded as former Government MP Charrandas Persaud controversially voted along with Opposition MPs based on moral grounds.
Following the motion, which effectively forced the Cabinet to resign and fresh elections to be held, Attorney General Basil Williams filed a High Court action against Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo and Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland, to determine if the motion was lawfully passed.
Persaud also filed an action challenging a subsequent decision to disqualify him as he holds Canadian citizenship.
Acting Chief Justice Roxanne George-Wiltshire first ruled that the motion was correctly passed although Persaud was illegally sitting as an MP due to his dual citizenship.
On March 22, the Court of Appeal overturned the judgment in a majority ruling which held that an absolute majority of 34 votes were required to pass the no-confidence motion.
Jagdeo is represented by a team of attorneys including Douglas Mendes,SC, Devesh Maharaj, Kandace Bharath, Anil Nandlall and Sanjeev Datadin. Williams' legal team is being led by Eamon Courtenay, SC.
NATIONAL Security Minister Stuart Young said there will be a cost attached to the visas being issued to Venezuelans to enter TT legally. Young made this statement in response to a question in the Senate yesterday.
The new visa policy went into effect yesterday.
Young explained it is normal for there to be administrative costs attached to visa applications to any country.
"It will be no different in this circumstance."
At a news conference at his ministry at Temple Court in Port of Spain last Friday, Young said signed an order to allow those visas to be issued at TT's embassy in Caracas. He denied that the embassy was not functioning.
Young said he has been speaking with Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dennis Moses about the visas.
He said it was unnecessary to provide additional resources to the embassy, as "the approval of these visas will come from headquarters (Port of Spain)."
A visa application will be made at the embassy in Caracas, sent to Port of Spain and either a "yea or nay" will be sent back to the embassy on the application, he said, adding that the cost of the visa application and all other logistical elements will be issued in due course.
Last Friday, Young said registration cards for successful migrants will be issued within two weeks. He also promised to provide full details of the number of Venezuelan migrants registered, the categories of those migrants (men, women and children) and the cost of the registration process, once they are available.
On another matter, Young apologised to contract staff at the Immigration Detention Centre who had not received their salaries and said instructions were issued to have those payments made yesterday. There seemed to have been a delay in the paperwork to process these workers' salaries, he said.