Tag Archive for 'Derren Joseph'

Caribbean tourism faces tough UK market

By Darren Joseph
April 03, 2012

Derren JosephBy any measure, tourism remains the biggest industry in the Caribbean region. The UK is a key source market for visitors and many jobs depend on arrivals to the region remaining strong. But the challenges are many as tough economic conditions, taxation and incentives for Brits to stay at home are hard to ignore.
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We need a strong opposition

By Derren Joseph
February 01, 2012

Derren JosephRecently I ended up at a fundraiser organised by Democrats Abroad here in the UK. As one would expect, the event was to raise funds for the re-election of President Obama in this year’s US Presidential elections. Those of us in favour of campaign finance reform in Trinidad and Tobago are impressed by the relative transparency in the campaign finance process in the US, and in the UK. Foreigners are not normally allowed to donate to political parties and all contributions over a certain threshold are a matter of public record. In fact, I was only able to attend the event as a guest of my wife, who is a US citizen and a registered Democrat.
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Bridging the credibility gap

By Derren Joseph
December 13, 2011

Derren JosephTransparency International’s 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranks Trinidad and Tobago in position 91 out of 183 countries–falling from a 2010 rank of 73. Remember this is a temperature check of how corrupt we perceive our own public sector to be. So if you are a statistician; walk away–it is not a rigorous quantitative research methodology. If you are a politician, listen-up, as perception drives voting patterns. On one hand, it can be argued that this cannot be completely blamed on the present administration because it reflects a consistent slide from 2001 when we were ranked at 31.
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Detaining ‘big fish, small fish’

By Derren Joseph
December 05, 2011

Derren JosephBritain’s Channel 4 aired a documentary called Trinidad: Guns, Drugs and Secrets. On the night in question, I deliberately avoided watching it. The following day, as I signed onto Facebook, I saw links to it on so many profiles that I ended up watching the whole thing—twice. The two interviews that I found most interesting were the one with the resident from Laventille and the one with the Security Adviser to the Prime Minister. For me, these two represented the opposing sides of this ongoing debate over the state of emergency (SoE) and the current Government’s approach to crime.
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Ensuring T&T’s Food Security

By Derren Joseph
August 30, 2011

Derren JosephThere was a recent story in the Jamaica Observer about food security in Jamaica that got me thinking. Like Trinidad, Jamaica is a net importer of food. Two officials at Jamaica’s College of Agriculture, Science and Education (Case) argued that crucial political decisions must be made in order to secure Jamaica’s ability to feed the population, particularly in the face of a natural disaster such as a hurricane. The officials advocated an urgent need for efficient national food storage systems.
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Call for strong policy on open skies

By Derren Joseph
July 19, 2011

Derren JosephIn my opinion, we in T&T have a special relationship with Guyana and Grenada partly because of the regular movement of people among these territories. When I visited St Lucia for Jazz, I was surprised by the number of Martiniquans I met there, but I subsequently discovered that there is regular movement of people between St Lucia and Martinique, thanks to a fairly reliable ferry service.
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Need for Transparency in Tourism

Derren JosephWhy do I go on and on about tourism? The answer is that in the Caribbean, tourism is everything. It is the biggest generator of income and the biggest employer. Even oil-rich Trinidad has energy, manufacturing and service sectors that are heavily dependent on regional markets. These regional markets would collapse without tourism. Ask any Trini that travels regionally about how grocery shelves up and down the Caribbean are stocked with Trini brands. Our island neighbours buy smoothies and enjoy free Internet access at Rituals. Our island neighbours often bank at Republic Bank or get insurance from known Trini insurance companies. To understand tourism trends, is to understand the ups and downs of our regional economy. Our region is one inextricably linked market–despite what politicians say.
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The Rise of Airline Web Sites

By Derren Joseph
July 05, 2011

Derren JosephWithin the last year, much has been happening in the airline industry. Of specific interest is the decision by one of the world’s largest airlines to take legal action against two of the three largest content distributors. Content distributors, better known as Global Distribution Systems (or GDS) take fares from the airlines to the travel agents (both online and offline players) so that they can be offered for sale to customers like you and I. Specifically, American Airlines (AA) has decided to file a civil antitrust suit against two of the three big GDS’ to stop what AA describes as “exclusionary, anti-consumer and anti-competitive business practices” of the named GDS’s. What does this have to do with us in the Caribbean one may reasonably ask? On the surface, I see three key changes coming if AA has its way and withdraws some of its fares from these GDS’.
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We need cheap flights

By Derren Joseph
June 01, 2011

Derren JosephRegional tourism-dependent economies continue to feel the stress of the global economic slowdown. It is a slowdown that is severely impacting our neighbours in a way that we in Trinidad may find it hard to imagine. Last October, an IMF report reminded us that Caribbean countries are among the most highly indebted countries in the world with five of the 13 Caribbean countries having public debt-to-GDP ratios of more than 100 per cent with an additional four having debt levels above 70 per cent.
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So much to do in T&T

By Derren Joseph
May 23, 2011

Derren JosephLast week, I was trying to get to Anguilla for a meeting, only to be told while transiting through Antigua that the Anguilla airport was closed. Apparently the air traffic controller was not feeling well that day. Thanks to LIAT’s excellent customer service however, passengers were put up in a fairly decent hotel and treated to dinner. Thank you LIAT. The next morning we flew out to St Maarten, to catch the ferry across to Anguilla. While on board the ferry I looked around at the bankers from Barbados tapping away on their BlackBerry smartphones while the French tourists took lots of pictures, and then it struck me. What a resource we have in Trinidad with our inter island ferries and our Water Taxis! I look forward to seeing links on airline/tour operator/travel agency Web sites that allow incoming visitors to buy ferry/Water Taxi tickets while booking their flights/hotels. Those of us who use the local Water Taxi may take it for granted but for a visitor to our shores, that ride would be an amazing and memorable experience. The view alone is incredible. Added to which, our ferries are among the more modern boats in this part of the Caribbean, making for a much more comfortable experience than other islands.
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