Trinidad and Tobago – The Caribbean’s Economic Miracle Needs Our Help
August 27, 2017
By Rob Hartwell
Tomorrow morning I begin an exciting journey to Trinidad and Grenada with former California Attorney General and Congressman Dan Lungren. We are flying to Port of Spain Trinidad, to meet with business and government leaders, including Trinidad’s Prime Minister and Security Minister, to help plan a September Security Forum.
Trinidad is having troubles, and as a key economic power in the Caribbean, and critical ally and friend to the United States, we should turn our eye southward to see what we can do to help. Trinidad’s crime rate is soaring. Drug abuse and trafficking, human trafficking, and even Isis are gaining strongholds in our Hemisphere. Just five miles from Venezuela, a nation rocked by a Socialist Dictator taking control and cracking down on any chance for Democracy, Trinidad’s security may soon be threatened externally. Internally, Trinidad, per capita, has among the largest recruitment rates for Isis of any nation.
Trinidad has one of the world’s most sophisticated and leading LNG and oil and gas industries. This has been an economic boon to the nation and provided wealth far out of reach of many other Caribbean nations. This has also been a magnet for those who wish to exploit Trinidad and her resources… from petty criminals, to terrorists and for hundreds of years, nations looking for cheap labor, sugar cane and oil and gas.
It would behoove the U.S. to work with Trinidad and for supportive U.S. citizens and industry to help Trinidad right a listing ship and population. While the U.S. intervenes in nations far away, we must begin to look to improve living and economic conditions in our own region, or risk more expansion of criminal networks and terrorism closer to home. Investment in infrastructure, new technologies and security are a must. Finding ways to help boost education on basic matters like health care and HIV prevention, as well as trade skills and more advanced education, all the way up to petroleum engineering, are essential.
A new effort and outlook is needed; from Security to Technology and from Investment to Education, America and our allies in the Americas and beyond must look to our own Hemisphere to shore up our region and support our vital allies critical to U.S. security and economic prosperity.
I’m honored to be working with Nigel Salina, Chairman of Trinidad’s Global Business Leadership Forum, who has sponsored our efforts there and is introducing us to the leaders of business, industry and government in Trinidad. Nigel’s tireless efforts on behalf of Trinidad are remarkable, and we are so looking forward to meeting others like him, to work with us, to help Trinidad rise to the top and be the shining star for all free Caribbean nations to see… shining across the jeweled sea as a beacon of economic prosperity and tranquility for her citizens and hope for all.