Investing in Trinidad and Tobago

David Renwick's guide to doing business in Trinidad and Tobago

Illustration by Christopher CozierIllustration by Christopher Cozier

The Trinidad and Tobago economy is back on a sustained growth path, after an almost decade-long decline in the eighties and early nineties. 1997 was the fourth successive year of real economic expansion, with growth of 2.9%, according to Central Bank figures. Growth in 1996 had been 2.8%, in 1995 3.2% and in 1994, the best year for the nineties so far, 5%.

The good news is that the Central Bank expects this performance to continue. “Over the next three years, the country will achieve an increase in income comparable to increases attained in the recent past,” confidently predicts Central Bank governor Winston Dookeran.

Forecasts from the Central Bank and Ministry of Finance suggest growth will be 6% this year (though that was before the precipitous decline in oil prices, which will affect the earnings of the country’s premier industry), 6.8% in 1999 and 3.6% in the year 2000.

It is clear that Trinidad and Tobago will become richer every year for at least the rest of this decade, and that’s certainly glad tidings for traders and investors. It means more demand for imported goods and more opportunities for investment and production.

Gross domestic product (GDP) in real terms last year was estimated at TT$18.5 billion (US$2.94 billion) and should be over TT$20 billion (US$3.17 billion) by the turn of the century.

The restoration of real growth followed a period of “structural adjustment” in the late eighties and early nineties. The National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) government had the courage to take the plunge when it was voted into office by a huge majority in 1986. It submitted the country to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, which forced a reduction in government spending, put the brake on some social initiatives, started local manufacturers’ exposure to foreign competition in their own market and saw the beginnings of the privatisation of loss-making state-owned assets.

The People’s National Movement (PNM) continued the restructuring programme when it returned to office in 1991, dismantling all quota protective systems for local industry, reducing tariffs, encouraging foreign investment, promoting exports, lowering taxes and, perhaps most important of all, abandoning foreign exchange controls.

There is still some way to go, but all these measures have today produced a much leaner and stronger economy, with inflation running at an average of 3.5%, a better balance between the energy-related part of the economy (oil and gas) and the non-energy part, a consistent balance of payments surplus (thanks in part to the confidence of foreign businessmen who are falling over themselves to invest their money locally), steadily falling unemployment and rising foreign exchange reserves.

Even in 1997, a year of inordinate import demand especially for capital goods to feed the investment programme in the energy industry, foreign exchange reserves remained strong, representing 4.2 months of import cover. At the end of March, 1998, gross foreign reserves were US$1193.7 million.

The inflow of foreign earnings has enabled the country to progressively pay off its overseas debt, which was down to US$1,526.8 million at the end of 1997.

The Central Bank is taking no chances that either inflation or the foreign reserves situation will get out of hand. It put a damper on the money supply in April by raising the commercial banks’ reserve requirement to 24%. This triggered a rise in the prime lending rate to 17.5%, thus making borrowing more expensive, but there has been no noticeable rush to postpone any major investment decisions.

With the economic fundamentals all pointing in the right direction, the government has recognised that its role now is mainly to help underpin the efforts of private investors by strengthening the infrastructure.

Some TT$1,579 million (US$251 million) has been earmarked for the 1997 Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP), much of which will go to improving the highway system, extending power transmission and distribution, providing more water and continuing the airport upgrading project.

The fall in oil prices may slow down the rate of expenditure in this area to some extent but will not affect the overall programme significantly. The successful broadening of the tax base, away from direct taxation towards more consumption-type taxes, has ensured that oil tax shortfalls do not affect the government’s spending plans in the way they used to do.

In absolute terms, energy still remains the dominant sector in the country, accounting in 1997 for TT$4.3 billion out of the total real GDP of TT$18.5 billion. Only the government sector itself, at TT$2.24 billion, came anywhere close to matching it.

Energy also remains the area of most interest to foreign investors, who continue to pour money into activities like oil exploration, natural gas platform development and petrochemical industries.

1998 will see the largest-ever capital investment in the Trinidad and Tobago energy industry — US$447 million. US$63 million will go to seismic surveys of new oil/gas blocks, US$127 million on exploratory drilling, US$164 million to development drilling and US$93 million on workovers.

Exploratory drilling is perhaps the most important part of this scenario, since Trinidad and Tobago badly needs to find new oil reserves, in substantial amounts if possible. Current proven reserves amount to about 600 million barrels, according to the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries, enough to last for no more than 13 years at present production rates. Probable reserves are put at 400 million barrels and possible reserves, 1,600 million barrels. Thirteen new offshore blocks were given out during the 23-month period, April 1996 — February 1998, under production sharing contracts between the Ministry and foreign oil companies, and at least four are believed to be potential oil producers.

The rest are likely to yield natural gas, now Trinidad and Tobago’s most abundant hydrocarbon, with proven reserves being 17.27 trillion cubic feet (tcf), discounted probable 5.17 tcf and discounted possible 2.90 tcf, a total of 25.34 tcf.

It is the utilisation of this natural gas in petrochemicals and gas-liquids industries that has added a whole new dimension to the country’s energy sector in recent years.

Incredible as it may seem, in 1998 alone no fewer than five new gas-based industrial plants will commence production. They are: the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan’s fourth ammonia plant (PCS 4), with a capacity of 620,000 tonnes, Farmland Misschem’s first ammonia plant (620,000 tonnes), the Methanol 4 Company’s plant (550,000 tonnes), Cliffs and Associates reduced iron plant (550,000 tonnes) and Caribbean Ispat’s mega module (megamod) DRI plant (1.5 million tonnes).

The local gas industry is expected to grow by 16% a year during the period 1995 –2005, compared with 4% in Argentina and 2.5% in Venezuela, two of Trinidad and Tobago’s main gas competitors in the western hemisphere. Even this figure may now be conservative since Amoco and Repsol of Spain announced in June, 1998, their intention to seek their partners’ agreement for trebling the size of the 425-million-cubic-feet-a-day Atlantic Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant at Point Fortin, whose first train has yet to go into production.

Amoco is one of those foreign investors whose success exemplifies why Trinidad and Tobago is considered a prime investment location in the Caribbean and Latin America. It has been in the country for well over 30 years and is today the leading oil and gas producer. It owns the vast majority of offshore oil and gas reserves and also has investments in power generation, methanol and LNG. Amoco Energy Company of Trinidad and Tobago contributes over 5% to the Amoco Corporation’s world-wide profits.

Amoco is one of over 130 international companies operating successfully in Trinidad. The UK’s Cable and Wireless is another, with a 49% holding in Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT), which handles all domestic and overseas communications.

India’s Ispat steel group is another successful foreign investor, having taken over the government-owned steel mill at Point Lisas when it was losing large sums of money and turning it into a profitable enterprise within a few years. Trinidad provided Ispat with a springboard to other investments in the western hemisphere, in Mexico, Canada and the US. As noted above, the company is currently engaged in a major expansion of its Trinidad operation.

Investors not involved in the energy sector might care to look instead at light manufacturing or tourism, two areas earmarked as growth industries by the government.

Export manufacturing has been one of the success stories of the local economy in the last five years, as domestic producers have been forced to turn their sights outwards to survive in a global market. Some manufacturers are now exporting 80 – 90 percent of their production, when only a few years ago they were doing minimal exporting.

Leon Lue Yat, manager, investment facilitation, of the government’s Tourism and Industrial Development Company (TIDCO), identifies resource-based manufacturing, like converting local wood into furniture products, as one of the types of industries in which foreign investment would be welcome. Others include downstream products from the core petrochemical plants (methanol, ammonia), floriculture, marine activities like boat building and ship repair, and software development.

Taking tourism seriously as a potentially major industry is a new idea in official circles, but the country’s relative underdevelopment in this sector is perhaps one of the best reasons why foreign investors should be interested.

Foreign investment has been increasingly attracted to tourism in recent years, especially in Tobago, where Hilton International has agreed to operate a second hotel, now in the construction stage.

The government’s preference is for hotels catering to “niche” tourists, those who have a special interest in the environment, diving, culture or any of the other activities that Trinidad and Tobago is uniquely placed to offer.

Country Profile: Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago is no ordinary Caribbean country. For one thing, tourism is not its major industry — energy (oil and gas) is. It does not export bananas. It hardly ever gets hit by hurricanes. It has no offshore banks.

What it does have is one of the world’s most cosmopolitan population mixtures, which has produced an eclectic culture: 40.3% of the population is of Indian descent, 39.6% of African descent and 18.4% mixed. European, Syrian and Chinese are other distinct ethnic groups, but with less than 1% representation. This diversity is the result of history, with Trinidad having been “discovered” by Columbus and claimed for Spain in 1498 but largely settled by French immigrants from Haiti and other Caribbean islands. The Africans were brought in to work the sugar plantations and succeeded by indentured labourers from India after emancipation. The Europeans came as colonisers, the Syrians as traders and the Chinese initially as labourers.

Economically, Trinidad and Tobago stands out from its fellow member territories of the 15-nation Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom) because it has the most diversified and advanced production structure in the region:

• a heavy industrial sector (machinery, steel, methanol, fertiliser, oil refining, bronze castings, tools and dies, power generation)

• a light manufacturing sector (glass, paint, batteries, food, furniture, clothing, air-conditioning equipment, beverages)

• a domestic agricultural sector (chicken, vegetables, fruit)

• an export agricultural sector (sugar, cocoa, coffee)

• and tourism (especially in Tobago).

The possibilities for doing business are, therefore, widespread, either as a trader, selling goods to the distribution sector, or as a buyer of any of the hundreds of locally-manufactured products available for export.

The local import market is worth TT$13 billion (US$2.06 billion) a year, which clearly provides extensive opportunities for those wishing to find customers for their products in Trinidad and Tobago. As far as investment is concerned, national savings as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) is considered low at 17.5% (1997), so there is obvious room for foreign investors to come in and top up the investment level, which the government is anxious for them to do.

Trinidad and Tobago has been in charge of its own destiny since 1962, when it achieved independence from Britain. It became a Republic within the Commonwealth in 1976. The general consensus of international opinion is that successive governments have done a good job of running the country’s affairs, eschewing extremism of either the left or right variety. The result is today’s strong economy, well-educated workforce, thriving democracy and leadership role in Caribbean and hemispheric affairs. It was no accident that Port of Spain was chosen in 1995 as the site for the headquarters of the new Association of Caribbean States (ACS), a 25-nation group that aims to bridge the historic divide between the Caribbean Sea’s English and Spanish-speaking countries.

The ACS intends to promote integration in the three T’s — trade, transportation and tourism — which itself holds out the prospect of a further expansion of business opportunities in the medium long term.

The strength of Trinidad and Tobago’s democracy is well illustrated by the fact that it has been sorely tested twice since independence — and survived intact both times. In 1970, dissident army officers tried to break out of their barracks at Chaguaramas, with the intention of heading into Port of Spain to unseat the government. They eventually surrendered.

The more serious challenge came 20 years later, in 1990, when a fringe Muslim group, calling itself the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen and led by Yasin Abu Bakr, shot its way into Parliament one Friday afternoon and held the then Prime Minister, A. N. R. Robinson, and several of his ministers, hostage for five days, demanding the resignation of the government and a radical change in social policy. Other members of the group took over the then lone television station and attempted to broadcast their message to the country. The army surrounded both buildings and the insurrection eventually collapsed. However, over 20 people were killed in the attempt to take over Parliament and in the fire-bombing of the police headquarters next door, including one Parliamentarian. The Prime Minister and some of his ministers were injured, though not seriously.

Abu Bakr and his colleagues spent two years in confinement but were eventually released by the courts. The Jamaat-al-Muslimeen still exists and Abu Bakr occasionally sounds off against the government but the group is kept under close supervision by the security services.

The People’s National Movement (PNM) has been the dominant political party since 1956, when it won its first election. There have been only two changes in government since then, and both required a coalition of opposition forces. In 1986, three parties got together to form the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR), under Mr Robinson, which won that year’s election. In 1995, the PNM and the main opposition party, the United National Congress (UNC), deadheated in the general election, and the NAR threw in its lot with the UNC, to enable UNC leader, Basdeo Panday, to form a government.

The UNC/NAR administration has more or less carried on the economic policies of the former government — reduction or elimination of trade barriers, privatisation of state-owned assets, encouragement of exports, opening up the economy to foreign investment, free convertibility of the TT dollar.

It still has some way to go in dismantling some of the bureaucratic impediments to economic activity but, all in all, there has probably never been a better time to trade with, or invest in, Trinidad and Tobago than today.

Doing business in Trinidad and Tobago

Initial Contact: Before coming to Trinidad and Tobago, it would be useful to call, fax or e-mail the investment facilitation unit of the Tourism and Industrial Development Company (TIDCO) at 868-623-6022 (phone), 868-625-0837 (fax) or llueyat@tidco.co.tt (e-mail). The company’s web site is http://www.tidco.co.tt . If you are seeking to sell goods, TIDCO can put you on to potential distributors. If you are exploring the possibilities of investment, it can help with valuable information or with introductions to local producers interested in foreign joint venture partners.

Getting to Trinidad and Tobago: There’s only one way — by air. If you’re coming from Europe, catch the national airline BWIA’s flights from London. British Airways also does the route but lands in Tobago. For travellers from North America, BWIA has scheduled flights to Trinidad from Toronto, New York and Miami. You can also fly by Air Canada from Toronto or American Airlines from Miami. BWIA also connects Caracas and Guyana to Trinidad. Suriname Airways has a service to Trinidad. BWIA has resumed its domestic service between Trinidad and Tobago.

Immigration and Customs: A recent change in the law allows business visitors to stay in Trinidad and Tobago for up to 30 days in any one-year period without the necessity of a work permit. This is all part of the process of opening up the economy. Customs regulations allow you to bring in, duty-free, 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco, 1 litre of wine or spirits and TT$1,200 (about US$200) worth of gifts — useful if you’re trying to win customers and influence businessmen.

Getting around: Taxis are the best, and most reliable way, for business visitors with little time to waste. A taxi from Piarco International Airport in Trinidad to the two major business hotels in Port of Spain, the Hilton and Holiday Inn, will cost about US$20. If staying at the Hilton, it’s worth making arrangements with one of the taxis based there to ferry you around to your appointments — it’ll work out cheaper in the end. The Holiday Inn is within walking distance of most of the people, and organisations, you’ll want to see.

Climate/Dress: Trinidad and Tobago is a tropical country but, thanks to the trade winds, rarely excessively hot (except, perhaps, during the El Niño weather phenomenon). Temperatures vary between 21 and 37 degrees centigrade. The dry and wet seasons are split roughly between the first and second halves of the year. As a business visitor, you’re not a tourist and will be expected to be properly dressed — a suit, if you want to impress or, at the very least, a tie.

Working hours: Government offices officially open between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and most business places do likewise. The people you want to see will undoubtedly be prepared to make themselves available outside these hours, if you so wish.

Establishing a presence: If you are seeking a trading relationship (selling or buying), TIDCO will assist with a list of distributors or production companies in your field of interest. If you want to invest, TIDCO will also help with the names of lawyers and accountants who can register a company or a branch operation and help you comply with the legal niceties. If you prefer a joint venture, your Trinidad and Tobago partner will obviously function as your “local presence”.

Security: There is more crime in Trinidad and Tobago than there used to be in the good old days, but that shouldn’t worry the business visitor too much. If walking around, simply stay clear of the seedier parts of either Port of Spain or the second most important business centre, San Fernando, in the south. Your local contacts will be glad to advise. In short, take the same common sense precautions as you would in New York or London.

Banking: The Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TT$) is freely convertible, so you will have no trouble getting paid for goods you may sell to a local distributor or repatriating income or capital should you eventually decide to invest in the country. The banking system is very sophisticated and deals in all the modern monetary instruments for funding trade and commerce. Visa and American Express credit cards are accepted at most hotels, restaurants and shops. And if you find yourself in need of some spare cash, use your card to access your account at home in any of the 220 automatic banking machines (ABMs) spread across the country.

Telecommunications: Trinidad and Tobago likes to regard itself as being at the “cutting edge” of communications technology. Direct distance dialling (DDD) to any part of the world is available, fax machines are in every business place (and many homes) and the Internet is accessible through local servers. Internet cafés have sprung up in Port of Spain as they have elsewhere in the world. The two main ones are New Hope Ground Ltd at 1 Sweetbriar Rd, St. Clair, (868-622-1804) and CECP Cybercafe at 62-64 Park St (868-625-3355).

Telephone booths can be found at many street corners, but you have to use a card these days (on sale at many stores and service stations). Cable or satellite television service, almost exclusively weighted towards US stations, is installed at all hotels.

Making The Deal: Trinidad and Tobago businessmen are more sophisticated than they used to be. Local distributors will try and squeeze the best price out of you, since the economy has become more competitive following liberalisation. On the other hand, if you want to buy Trinidad and Tobago-made products, you will find exporters eager to please by cutting their own prices to the bone. Exporting is the flavour of the year in Trinidad and Tobago these days, and not being able to sell at least part of local production abroad is considered almost sacrilegious.

Accommodation

Hotels and guest houses in Trinidad and Tobago range from expensive (US$200 a night and over) to moderate (between US$50-$60 a night). Business visitors tend to stay in the former, the two best examples of which are the Hilton (868-624-3111), on the outskirts of Port of Spain (said to be the world’s only “upside down” hotel) and the Holiday Inn, in downtown Port of Spain (868-625-3361). The Kapok (868-622-6441) at Cotton Hill, near the Queen’s Park Savannah, and the Ambassador (868-628-9000), at Long Circular Road, near St James are good, less expensive, options. In the moderate category are Monique’s Guest House, Saddle Rd (868-628-3334), about 15 minutes drive from Port of Spain; Royal Palm Suite Hotel (868-628-5086) in the same area, and The Normandie (868-624-1181), in nearby St Ann’s.

For business visitors heading south to talk to people in the oil industry, Farrell House Hotel in Claxton Bay (868-659-2271) and Royal Hotel at 46-54 Royal Rd. in San Fernando (868-652-4881) fall in a category just below “expensive” (about US$150-180 a night). If your business activities take you to Tobago, Coco Reef, the subject of a recent US$27 million re-fit (868-639-8571), Grafton Beach (868-639-0191), Le Grand Courlan (868-639-8891) and Plantation Beach Villas (868-639-9377) all qualify as expensive, while Kariwak (868-693-8442), Conrado Beach Resort (868-639-0145) and Blue Horizon Resort (868-639-0432) would probably be regarded as “moderately” priced.

Meeting and Conference Facilities

Trinidad does not yet have custom-designed conference facilities. The Hilton Hotel’s all-purpose main hall is the best available venue. It can hold about 500 people comfortably and 800 at a squeeze. The Holiday Inn also has a main hall, which functions as a conference centre. Both hotels have smaller rooms for less crowded meetings, as do several of the smaller hotels. The Urban Development Company of Trinidad and Tobago (UDCOTT) is promoting a combined conference centre plus headquarters for the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) in downtown Port of Spain.

Courier Services

At least 15 companies offer courier service from Trinidad and Tobago to the outside world, including such international giants as Federal Express (868-645-2476), United Parcel Service (868-627-4877) and DHL (868-625-9835). The local Post Office (868-625-3928) also recently entered the fray and is by far the cheapest. Three security companies — Securicor (868-624-5751), Royal Bank Resource, Protection and Service Co. (868-627-8515) and Donrich Security (868-669-4837) — will deliver parcels within Trinidad and Tobago itself.

Legal Services

Trinidad and Tobago probably has more lawyers per 1,000 people than most other countries. The Yellow Pages have a lengthy list of attorneys and TIDCO would also be happy to assist in this regard.

Accounting Services

Accountants can also be found in the Yellow Pages.

Financial Services

Trinidad and Tobago has five banks, with branches conveniently located in all urban and suburban communities. They can perform any financial service you might require, including, of course, opening a new account for you. In these days of money laundering, however, you will be required to establish your bona fides, usually with a letter from a bank in your home country.

Translation Services

If you are a non-English-speaking trader or investor, you will be relieved to know that TIDCO’s staff at 10-14 Phillips St., Port of Spain, are all well on the way to becoming fluent in Spanish. Assistance to French and German visitors, and those from other European countries, is readily forthcoming. For more formalised translation facilities, say for a conference or meeting, contact the School of Languages at the National Institute of Higher Education (Research, Science and Technology) at 6 Alcazar Street, St Clair, Port of Spain (868-628-4600).

Secretarial Services

There are about nine companies offering such services. Eve Anderson Associates of 143 Edward Street, Port of Spain (868-627-8233), is one of the longest established.

Residence/Property/Work Permits

You can stay in Trinidad and Tobago on holiday for as long as you can persuade the immigration officer at the airport to allow you. As a business visitor, coming to work, you are permitted to remain for one month in every calendar year without a work permit. Longer than that requires a work permit. Again, TIDCO can come to the rescue by providing you with all the forms to fill out and suggesting an attorney through whom you can deal. If you eventually plan to set up a factory or other business, work permits will be required not only for you but any expatriate staff you may want to bring in. One of the “nuisance” requirements for a work permit is a certificate of good character from the police in your home country. Fortunately, so far, most investors, when told of this, have tended to show amusement rather than irritation.

As far as the ownership of property by expatriates is concerned, the current law allows you to own one acre or less for a residential purpose, without a licence, and up to five acres for a factory or business activity, without a licence. The Ministry of Finance, however, must be informed of the purchase.

Health/Education Services

The general hospitals in Port of Spain and San Fernando are the best places to go for treatment for accidents and emergencies. They are also free. If any illness requires a stay in hospital, however, your best bet would be the Community Hospital of Seventh Day Adventists on the Western Main Rd, Cocorite (868-622-1191) or a nursing home such as St Clair Medical Centre, 18 Elizabeth Street, St. Clair, Port of Spain (868-628-1451), Medical Associates, corner Abercromby and Albert Streets, St Joseph (868-622-2766) or Auzonville Medical Centre at 11 Eastern Main Rd., Tunapuna (868-645-6437).

The level of secondary education available in Trinidad is considered to be high. Expatriates normally prefer to send their high-school age children to the two international schools — Maple Leaf International (Canadian curriculum) (868-622-5434) and the International School of Port of Spain Ltd. (US curriculum) (868-624-5138).

Food

You can sample a wide culinary range in Trinidad, from local (creole) food to French, Italian, Arabic and Portuguese dishes. The East Indian influence in Trinidad has given rise to foods such as roti and doubles, which are mainly sold from roadside stalls. The Indian restaurants specialise in more “up-market” Indian dishes. Chinese restaurants are widespread.

Try Tiki Village at the Kapok Hotel, Maraval (868-622-6441) for Polynesian, Apsara at the City of Grand Bazaar, Valsayn (868-662-1013) for Indian, Le Chateau de Poisson, 38 Ariapita Ave (868-622-6087) for seafood and Ali Baba at Royal Palm Plaza, Saddle Rd, Maraval (868-627-5557) for Arabic.

Sport

The people of Trinidad and Tobago play almost all the world’s recognised sports and are outstanding in some of them — e.g. Brian Lara (cricket), Dwight Yorke (football) and Ato Boldon (athletics). If your business visit is properly timed, you may be able to see a cricket Test match at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain between the West Indies and a visiting team from England, Australia, Pakistan or another cricketing country, or a football match at the National Stadium with Trinidad and Tobago pitted against players from other parts of the world.

Nightlife

You business contacts will no doubt have their own favourites, but some of the leading night spots in Trinidad include the Upper Level Club at West Mall (868-637-1753), Club Coconuts at Cascadia Hotel, St Ann’s (868-623-6887), and Pier One (868-634-4472) and Anchorage (868-634-4334), both at Chaguaramas in the north-western peninsula. All hotels also have some form of evening entertainment.

Shopping

Shops are by and large well stocked with goods from all over the world. Local products also hold their own, particularly clothes. A wide variety of local handicraft is also available. Most people shop in malls these days (Long Circular Mall in St James, West Mall in Westmoorings, Ellerslie Plaza in Boissiere Village, Trincity Mall in Trincity, Gulf City in La Romain, South Trinidad) but you will probably find better prices in downtown Port of Spain or San Fernando, where the competition is greater.

Culture

The inhabitants of Trinidad and Tobago are a theatrical people — after all, they produce the world’s greatest street festival, the annual Carnival, which takes place on the two days preceding the Christian season of Lent. Business visitors are not advised to plan their trip during the pre-Carnival period (say up to two weeks before), because they will find the minds of their local contacts are on other things. Those who remain in the country as long-term investors will eventually be seduced by Carnival and want to play in a band, where they will find a warm welcome. The steelband and calypso are two art forms that have become inextricably linked with the Carnival celebration — the steelband providing the calypso accompaniment which keeps the thousands-strong mas moving rhythmically, and tirelessly, through the streets for two whole days.