On Saturday May 6, 2023, Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry delivered the feature address at the book launch of “Beyond Indentureship, Indo Trinidadian Entrepreneurs” by Hemraj Ramdath. The book examines the history of Indo-Trinidadian entrepreneurship and features the stories of thirty-three entrepreneurs who have made significant contributions to the economy of Trinidad and Tobago.
In congratulating Mr Ramdath during her address, Minister Gopee-Scoon noted, “Beyond Indentureship is an excellent illustration of the power of entrepreneurship in our country. It is a reminder that entrepreneurship driven by a need for better, creates opportunities for other, contributes to the development of society while enriching Trinidad and Tobago’s cultural heritage. The book is a significant body of work that records the success of several business persons and addresses some of the literary gaps with respect to the historical impact of businesses on the economy of Trinidad and Tobago.”
As documented in the book, by 1921, there were 19,384 Indian entrepreneurs in Trinidad and Tobago with the majority engaged in agriculture and other sectors such as, retail and distribution and real estate. In the decades that followed, many diversified and established thriving businesses in various sectors, including manufacturing, logistics, services, transport and construction just to name a few.
Minister Gopee-Scoon also made a call to have similar bodies of work created to record the contributions of other cultures to the economic fabric of our country.
During her speech, she emphasised that the journey to success is not just about the individual entrepreneur, but about the ecosystem of support that surrounds them. Accordingly, she gave assurances of the Government’s commitment to continuing to create an enabling environment with the necessary facilities to support the growth and development of globally competitive businesses.
Other speakers at the launch included Dr. Bhoendradatt Tewarie, Former Principal and Pro Vice-Chancellor, Planning and Development, University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine; Mr. Mariano Browne – Chief Executive Officer at the UWI Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business; Professor Emeritus Brinsley Samaroo, Department of History, UWI St Augustine; and Professor Patricia Mohammed, Emeritus Professor of Gender and Cultural Studies, UWI St Augustine.