Press Release: EITI/ UWI Renew Collaboration
The University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine Campus, and the Trinidad and Tobago Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (TTEITI) Steering Committee signed a second Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to renew their collaboration in promoting best practice in natural resources management in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean. Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal Professor Brian Copeland, signed on behalf of The UWI, and Victor Hart, Chair TTEITI Steering Committee, signed on behalf of the Steering Committee.
The two parties recognise the benefits of continuing to work together to enhance the local and wider Caribbean extractive sectors industries good governance practices reinforced by transparency and accountability. The aim is to improve the region’s understanding of the nature and significance of contemporary management issues and practices in the extractive sectors and the benefits to be derived from the application of emerging global governance trends such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) including the maximising of revenue receipts.
The first MOU was signed on November 6 2013 and the second MOU on March 16 2018, both for a period of three years.
Under the first MOU, The UWI’s Trade and Economic Development Unit (TEDU) collaborated with the TTEITI Steering Committee and Secretariat in hosting capacity-building workshops locally and in Jamaica, Suriname and Guyana for government, extractive companies and civil society stakeholders. In addition to promoting knowledge of best practice in natural resources management in the extractive sectors, a tangible benefit derived from those activities was Suriname and Guyana’s commitment to the EITI Principles and their admission to EITI membership in 2017 to join Trinidad and Tobago as the second and third Caribbean country-members.
Under the second MOU, the parties will continue their collaborative activities, through outreach events, to educate extractive sectors stakeholders with the aim of (a) building capacity in social, economic and environmental knowledge in relation to the exploitation of natural resources; and (b) increasing understanding of EITI implementation methodology and benefits. The activities will be carried out by select UWI faculty, staff and students, members of the TTEITI Steering Committee and Secretariat and mutually approved facilitators from other organisations.
At the MOU signing, Professor Copeland said, among other things, that The UWI welcomed collaboration with the TTEITI Steering Committee and Secretariat because it gave the University’s talented research staff, graduates and students the opportunity to participate in and contribute to the development of an important governance initiative such as the EITI. Sherwin Long, Head TTEITI Secretariat, noted that UWI will continue to be the primary resource-centre for providing facilitators for the capacity-building EITI workshops with lecturers in the fields of economics, governance, company management and environment protection and associated legal issues.
Victor Hart, Chair TTEITI Steering Committee, opined that the EITI is the most important governance initiative currently being implemented in Trinidad and Tobago because it protects the people’s patrimony and our children’s inheritance derived from the wealth of the country’s natural resources. It also empowers citizens to hold the government and companies accountable for their stewardship in exploiting the people’s natural resources, thereby strengthening the country’s participatory democracy. Further, it supports government’s ongoing drive to maximise the revenues earned from the oil and gas sectors to assist in overcoming the country’s current economic recession.