ICE President hails successful visit to Trinidad and Tobago

Sir John Armitt met a host of dignitaries and civil engineers on his official four day visit, the first of its kind.

Sir John met several dignitaries and professionals from the civil engineering world.
Sir John met several dignitaries and professionals from the civil engineering world.

Sir John's trip began with a meeting with Minister of Education, the Honourable Anthony Garcia which was also attended by Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Dr. the Honourable Lovell Francis. Discussions centred on the re-integration of the City & Guilds qualification in the region as well as covering the activities of ICEWILA in the region.

Sir John's visit also took in the Temple in the Sea, a Hindu temple, completed and consecrated at the end of 1995 which stands a quarter of a mile off the west coast of Trinidad. He was delighted to hear of the rich history of the construction of the monument which was built by Sewdass Sadhu, an Indian labourer whose ingenuity and resourcefulness made its construction possible.

After visiting the Temple, Sir John visited the world famous Pitch Lake, the largest natural deposit of asphalt in the world. The trip was, according to him, a "dream", having studied this natural wonder of the world in his textbooks at university. Keen to take a look at Trinidad's vibrant energy sector, Sir John was taken on a tour of BP's Juniper Platform after which he visited the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) where he gave a motivational speech to the students.

As part of the trip, the ICE President was delighted to be presented to His Excellency, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, SC. The President was pleased to receive Sir John and the two discussed many topics such as the City & Guilds qualification, construction in the region as well as its procurement challenges.

Sir John's visit was widely picked up in local media
Sir John's visit was widely picked up in local media

Continuing his theme of visiting educational facilities Sir John went on to visit the University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine Campus, paying a courtesy call to Campus Principal, PVC Clement Sankat and Campus Registrar, Mr. Richard Saunders as well as several heads of the various engineering faculties. Discussions centred on accreditation, memoranda of cooperation, construction practices, engineering research and procurement challenges in the region.

The ICE West Indies Local Association also hosted a Cocktail Reception attended by a large variety of construction industry professionals, as well as a Gala Dinner for over 80 people. At the dinner, the Association of Professional Engineers of Trinidad and Tobago (APETT) and ICE signed an Agreement of Cooperation, a historical event which set the precedent for discussions with the Caribbean Engineering Organizations for future Agreements of Cooperation.

Speaking at the dinner, Trinidad's Minister of Works and Transport, the Honourable Fitzgerald Hinds outlined the Government's plans for the construction industry in Trinidad and Tobago, and Sir John followed with his keynote address. His speech focused on likening the challenges he has faced in the UK construction industry with that of Trinidad's as he urged engineers across the world to learn and take inspiration from each other.

Sir John commented that his trip had been a pleasure and described the Caribbean as 'wonderful'.