No ben­e­fits to T&T from de­tain­ing Venezuela im­mi­grants, put them to work —Derek Chin

-says MovieTowne to open here Fe­bru­ary 21

Stabroek News - - REGIONAL NEWS -

(Trinidad Guardian) Busi­ness mag­nate Derek Chin has called for the reg­u­lar­i­sa­tion of Venezue­lans liv­ing in T&T so that they can be­come part of the work­force.

Chin was at the time de­liv­er­ing the fea­ture ad­dress at the Couva-Point Lisas Cham­ber of Com­merce an­nual Christ­mas Din­ner at the Cham­ber’s Au­di­to­rium at Cam­den Road, Couva, on Wed­nes­day night.

The Dachin Group of Com­pa­nies chair­man said de­tain­ing il­le­gal aliens from Venezuela at the Im­mi­gra­tion De­ten­tion Cen­tre was only cost­ing the coun­try money and not ben­e­fit­ing any­one.

“Let’s reg­u­larise it, we need labour. I’m not go­ing to open a restau­rant that costs me $6 mil­lion and I can’t find peo­ple to work or peo­ple of any cal­i­bre to work, so why don’t we turn a neg­a­tive into a pos­i­tive,” Chin said.

He said work per­mits should be given to those will­ing to work.

“Why don’t we turn all that tal­ent that is com­ing over, beg­ging for work, do our hu­man­ity part of it, and try and see how we can make it a win-win in­stead of putting them into a de­ten­tion camp, six months, you have to look af­ter them and then send them back, it makes no sense.”

Chin said a short­age of labour was one of his big­gest problems now fac­ing the busi­ness com­mu­nity. He said he cur­rently hires 2,300 peo­ple but has the ca­pac­ity to em­ploy 3,000.

“I need to get some help some­where,” he said, adding there are sim­ple solutions to many problems in T&T but they are bogged down by too much in­sti­tu­tional bu­reau­cracy.

Chin said T&T was also tak­ing too long to le­galise mar­i­juana, a move he said can gen­er­ate much-needed revenue. He said Canada le­galised mar­i­juana and in

do­ing so placed it­self in a revenue-gen­er­at­ing po­si­tion But he said the mind­set of lo­cal lead­ers need to change in or­der for T&T to move ahead.

“Un­less we change the sight of the coun­try, un­less we change how we think and why we should be win­ners and not losers.

“The lead­ers of the coun­try, I beg of you to start think­ing out­side of the box. The world is mov­ing very fast and un­less we wake up and smell the cof­fee we would be left be­hind.”

He also urged lo­cal busi­ness­men to in­vest in Guyana, adding that coun­try should start see­ing the ben­e­fits of its oil wind­fall by 2020. He said his Streets of the World com­plex is ex­pected to be opened on Fe­bru­ary 21, 2019, in Guyana and the in­vest­ment has at­tracted in­ter­na­tional chain Hard Rock Café along with Massy Stores, which is putting up a 60,000 square foot su­per­store. He said with Guyana ex­pected to de­liver 700,000 bar­rels of oil daily in due course, busi­ness­men should not get left out.

Cham­ber pres­i­dent Ram­c­hand Ra­jbal Maraj mean­while said he was con­cerned about the debt T&T would face from the San­dals pro­ject in Tobago. Ra­jbal-Maraj quoted from a news­pa­per ar­ti­cle that points to the ex­pen­di­ture of $11 bil­lion by Gov­ern­ment to fully fund the pro­ject. He said it was dif­fi­cult for na­tion­als to re­main op­ti­mistic in what he called “try­ing and un­usual times.”

“We are wit­ness­ing de­ci­sions that have left us in as­ton­ish­ment and deep trep­i­da­tion,” Ra­jbal Maraj said.

“I can re­mem­ber the very neg­a­tive im­pact in 2003 when the atro­cious de­ci­sion was taken to close down Ca­roni Lim­ited. The deliri­ous ef­fects of this de­ci­sion can still be felt to­day, es­pe­cially by the fam­i­lies of the for­mer em­ploy­ees. But I want ev­ery­one to take note that this de­ci­sion has served to se­verely shrink our agri­cul­ture sec­tor, as for­mer Ca­roni lands con­tin­u­ally lie idle and many ex-su­gar work­ers still await their lands.

“Then in 2015 Arcelor Mit­tal closed its doors and shut down its plant and all the work­ers were placed on the bread­line, to­tally un­pre­pared. To date, the em­ploy­ees never were in re­ceipt of any ben­e­fits that were en­ti­tled to them.”

He said he was also deeply sad­dened about the clo­sure of Petrotrin and the im­pend­ing lay­offs at TSTT.

Dachin Group of Com­pa­nies chair­man Derek Chin, sec­ond from left, chats with, from left, Couva/Point Lisas Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Ram­c­hand Ra­jbal Maraj, Couva South MP Rudy In­dars­ingh and Pointe-aPierre MP David Lee dur­ing the cham­ber’s Christ­mas Din­ner on Wed­nes­day.

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