ITEC Day Celebration 2019

Your excellency Arun Kumar Sahu, High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and members of the Indian High Commission,  

Other members of the diplomatic corps 

Specially invited guests 

ITEC Alumni 

Members of the Media

Ladies and gentlemen

The demands of globalization means that today, each country needs to produce a competitive, highly skilled, and adaptable workforce. Our institutions, policies and human capital therefore need to constantly adjust to this breakneck pace of change. I am certain that even during the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century, when the world was transitioning to new manufacturing processes, the rate of new discoveries could not compare to the phenomenon we are experiencing in the 21st century. 

So how do we, a tiny twin-island nation in the Caribbean, adjust to the growing demands of the world of work? 

As a start, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago continues to offer an effective range of programmes spanning technical vocational, culinary, new media, engineering and other academic disciplines to maintain a globally-competitive human resource whilst addressing the core capital needs of this country. 

To enhance what is already offered and to challenge the intellectual growth of our citizenry, exchange programmes- be it cultural or academic in nature, have become a necessity as we expand our horizons. Our diplomatic missions have become an important conduit to the global community by graciously offer citizens of Trinidad and Tobago unique exchange opportunities to experience the world from a reimagined perspective. The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme offered by the Government of India is one such success story… 

Since its establishment in 1964, ITEC has afforded professionals across 161 developing countries the opportunity to visit premier learning institutions in India and receive world-class training. Trinidad and Tobago has been fortunate in that many of our professionals are being selected to benefit from this invaluable exchange programme; and I say invaluable because India is deeply connected to our nation’s DNA. A visit to India is a visit to the birthplace of many of our East Indian legacies, and whilst one is learning and expanding one’s technical competencies in India, I can only imagine that one must pause and admirably reflect on a great civilization that has given the world scholars, research, spiritual ideologies and much, much more. 

We, the Government and people of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, are therefore eternally grateful for this opportunity to partake of the ITEC Programme. This year, professionals from this country and the wider Caribbean region, benefitted from training opportunities including:  Ms. Zara Hosein, a Yoga Trainer, who was selected to participate in a one month ‘Special Training Programme for Yoga Trainers’ course in Bangalore, Mr. Aubrey Joseph of Monserrat who was selected to participate in a two month-long ‘Operations & Maintenance of Cross Country Piplelines’ course at the Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) in New Delhi, Mr. Rajesh Lal, Legal Officer in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) who was selected for the ‘Digital Forensics’ course, and four T&T nationals- Ms Alana Jute, Dr Ryan Mohammed, Ms Jenellee Ramnarine and Ms Kara Roopsingh, who underwent a three week course in Management in Museum and Museology, at New Delhi. 

The ITEC Programme is one of several bilateral initiatives administered by the Indian High Commission in T&t to strengthen relations between both countries. Other programmes include the well-known “Know India Programme” or “KIP”, the International Ramayana Festival, which saw the participation of the Three Roads Youth group of Freeport in September, the Scholarship programme for Diasporic Children (SPDC), hindi classes and hindi essay competitions, and partnerships with local East Indian cultural institutions. 

The impact of these programmes is immediate and life-altering, and any alumnuspresent tonight can attest to this sentiment.  Trinidad and Tobago’s citizenry will continue to benefit from a deeply synergistic and committed relationship with the Government of India, and as Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, I certainly anticipate much more positive and vibrant offerings from the Indian High Commission. We at the Ministry will continue to work with your Commission for cultural exchanges and any other undertaking that will enhance our appreciation of a great country such as India.    

I wish to take this opportunity to thank Your Excellency, Arun Kumar Sahu, and the staff of the High Commission for hosting this event and as we enter into the Divali festivities, I extend special greetings to the entire Hindu Community. May the festival of lights continue to illuminate all hearts across this beautiful twin island of Trinidad and Tobago.

I thank you.