APETT’s President Address at the 56th Honours and Awards Ceremony
Good evening. Honorable Minister of Education Anthony Garcia, ladies and gentlemen, honored guests, awardees. I also want to especially recognize APETT’s Career of Excellence Awardee for last year and subsequent nominee and winner of the Chaconia Gold Medal, Eng. Winston Riley. I am particularly pleased that we have very present with us today, APETT’s Office Manager Ms. Noreen Mitchell to receive a highly overdue Long Service Award.
So today is mostly about celebration. This is enshrined in the APETT constitution that among other things, we honour our most deserving engineers for their contribution to society through their practice of engineering in all its forms and relations as well as those who have transcended engineering to other forms of public service.
It is also a time however, that one cannot resist lamenting the general state of our industry, where billions of dollars are still owed by the government to local contractors and engineers and the silence on payment is deafening after almost one year. The immoral invocation of the four year statute of limitations bar is now a court ruled precedent that denied at least one firm millions of dollars that was properly certified and due. The engineering industry, already reeling from a deprivation of payment, ongoing high interest rates and the lack of tangible opportunity for new work due to the depressed economy, now have to arm ourselves with lawyers, whose hourly rates are invariably treble ours, to fight for payment in the courts before time runs out according to the law.
Sitting here today we have about 170 professional engineers. Our membership remains just under 1000, while we understand the total number of practicing engineers in Trinidad and Tobago is estimated to be over 3000. The Board of Engineers of Trinidad and Tobago has around 1200 registered members. In summary our numbers are weak and hence our lobby is weak.
The full address is available at this link: Address at 56th Honours and Awards Ceremony