After the doubles and jerk-chicken are over, and the reggae and soca music has stopped, and the wining and dubbing is finished… what else would happen?
I originally thought of the idea when I did a couple of research projects in Jamaica that included multiple interviews with Trinidadians. A former Managing Director first put the idea in my head, saying that he would love to be able to learn from the other Trinis that were coming to lead companies in Jamaica for the first time. He said that there was much that they could learn from each other, and that had me think that there was not only a lot they could learn from each other, but also a lot they could teach Jamaicans about doing business in Trinidad.
Since then, and recently, the public row over the LNG issues and the trade gap between the two countries has resulted in a war of words, in which Dawn Rich’s column in the Sunday Gleaner represents perhaps the most extreme opinion.
Maybe the Chamber/Club, with a chapter in Kingston and another in Port of Spain, could be a place where:
- Trinidadian – Jamaican business relationships are fostered on an individual level
- the ins and outs of doing business in each country are shared
- business-people working away from their home country can find help in assimilating to their new surroundings
- the culture, laws and practices of each country can be frankly discussed, compared and understood
- innovative business ideas can be shared
- success can be celebrated
- myths can be addressed and dismantled
- equality of opportunity can be balanced between the two countries
- the goals of CARICOM can be furthered
- our companies, employees and people can benefit from our willingness to cooperate
A Chamber/Club with these goals is obviously not for everyone.
For one, it will take a certain willingness and awareness of the big picture — that we are all bound to each other, and are all one.
While it may be interesting to, at one level, to compete with each other in business, a short-term focus on my company’s success over yours is ridiculous for this small a region. It is much better for us to cooperate in expanding the pie, than it is for us to fight over the crumbs.
While I wouldn’t recommend that in the Chamber/Club each company gives away its trade secrets to its competitors, such an organization would benefit those members that have an interest in putting cooperation first.
So, that Trini-Jam “whatever it is” would be a place for Trinidadian and Jamaican businesspeople to cooperate for the greater good of our countries, companies, employees and people.
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