Op-Ed: Trinidad and Canada

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - June 22, 2012

By Hon. Sen. Don Meredith
Op-Ed Contributor

As the people of the twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago reach a historic milestone, it is both a time to celebrate the successes of the past and the opportunities that lie ahead.

It was in 1962 that the country affectionately known as T&T and my home island of Jamaica were the first British islands in the Caribbean to become independent nations.

During that year of independence, both of these nations established diplomatic relations with Canada. Since then, Trinidad and Tobago went one step further and became a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations. This testifies to the leadership role the country plays in the region until this very day.

Over the past 50 years, Canada has been a major partner of Caribbean nations, especially in capacity-building and trade. In fact, in recent years bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and Trinidad & Tobago has grown to over $615 million.

Trinidad and Tobago’s imports of Canadian goods, which include mineral ores, paper products, machinery and electrical equipment, and vegetables, have reached $273.6 million.

Meanwhile, Canadian imports from Trinidad and Tobago, which include organic chemicals, iron and steel and inorganic chemicals have reached $341.5 million.

In my capacity as Senator, I am helping to strengthen the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Caribbean Community, which will go a long way in creating jobs and increasing investment between Canada and Caribbean nations like Trinidad & Tobago.

Canada continues to invest in the Trinidadian economy, especially in the energy and financial sectors, which are set to grow and continue to strengthen the Caribbean economy.

Canada is able to maintain a strong, multi-faceted relationship with T and T by partnering on issues of mutual need, especially the energy sector.

By developing a relationship that relies on diverse imports and exports, Canada is able to support its own economy while helping Trinidad and Tobago to continue the great industrialization and development that has made them one of the shining lights of the Caribbean.

In terms of security, Canada has formed a strong partnership with Trinidad and Tobago by helping to train the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force, one of the largest forces in the Caribbean.

T&T has been a proud member of Canada’s Military Training and Assistance program since the mid-1970s, which has resulted in over 60 Canadian officers going to Trinidad and Tobago to help their military develop Disaster Management and basic security strategies.

These security arrangements will continue to be strengthened in the future.

Beyond trade, capacity building, and language, Canada and Trinidad and Tobago are linked at the most fundamental level. We are both parliamentary democracies with a bicameral Parliament consisting of an elected House and an appointed Senate, based on the Westminster parliamentary system.

Over time, Canada and Trinidad & Tobago have evolved from dependent colonies within the British Empire to independent countries within the Commonwealth of Nations, to interdependent partners on the world stage.

In celebration of this relationship, His Excellency the Right Hon. David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Canadian officials, made a recent state visit to Trinidad and Tobago, where they made security co-operation announcements.

His Excellency also witnessed the signing of a Technical Framework Arrangement that will allow qualified Canadian companies to access commercial opportunities in the Trinidadian health sector.

In a speech before the bright minds and faculty of the University of the West Indies, the Governor General stated:

“Trinidad and Tobago is in an enviable position to become a central player in the global economy because of its size, location and commitment to fostering learning and innovation … Trinidad and Tobago understands this and has worked hard, using innovative ideas and programs, to overcome obstacles to access to education. ‘Education for all’ is a mantra that I have heard here…This is why I hope to encourage further ties between our two countries, ties that can begin right here.”

Despite the warm friendship that our countries share at the highest level, the greatest tie that binds us together is the over 65,000 Trinidadians and Tobagonians that now call Canada home and make contributions to our country.

May the next 50 years be marked with great friendship, prosperity and blessings for both of our countries.

Hon. Dr Don Meredith is the Member of the Canadian Senate for Ontario.

Note: the opinions expressed in Caribbean Journal Op-Eds are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Caribbean Journal.

Popular Posts cape santa maria

The Best Caribbean Beach Resort You’ve Never Heard of 

There’s a boat just offshore called “Escape.”  It’s bobbing in some of the most brilliant, dynamic turquoise water I’ve ever seen, a few meters from a stretch of sand so bright and so white you have to squint to look […]


Marriott Is Opening Its New St Regis Resort In Aruba 

aruba st regis inside the restaurant with chairs

It was more than a decade ago that Marriott opened its first-ever Ritz-Carlton resort in the Dutch Caribbean: the Ritz-Carlton, Aruba, which at the time was the island’s first true five-star resort.  Fast forward to 2024, and Marriott is set […]


From All-Inclusive Resorts to Beaches, Travelers Are Falling in Love With Antigua and Barbuda

antigua barbuda frontier airlines the peninsula with sand

The plunge-pool villas at Hammock Cove. The historic streets of Nelson’s Dockyard. Pool days at Sheer Rocks. Unforgettable honeymoons. Vibrant meals of pepperpot and fungee. Beach bar hopping on the south coast. Endless serenity in Barbuda.  Travelers keep flocking to […]


Related Posts ian fleming villa with beach and green trees

In Jamaica, the Travel Boom Continues 

A tourism renaissance that began largely in the summer of 2021 in Jamaica is showing no signs of abating. That’s what the latest numbers show about the high-profile Caribbean destination.  So faro this year, Jamaica has welcomed 1.7 million visitors, […]


This Major Jamaica Resort Has Been Sold

holiday inn

A major resort in Jamaica’s tourism hub of Montego Bay has been sold, Caribbean Journal Invest has learned.  The resort is set on a prime stretch of beachfront in the heart of Montego Bay.  So what’s on the move?  The […]


Riu Just Opened Its Newest All-Inclusive in Jamaica 

riu jamaica all-inclusive resort

The history, the culture, the lagoon. The seaside town of Falmouth on Jamaica’s northern coast has been one of the island’s most popular destinations in recent years, drawing both a major cruise port and a growing collection of new resorts […]


SUBSCRIBE!

Sign up for Caribbean Journal's free newsletter for a daily dose of beaches, hotels, rum and the best Caribbean travel information on the net.


No. Thank You