Caribbean Corporate Leaders Discuss The Fallout Of COVID-19

Port of Spain, Trinidad, August 14, 2020: The second installment of the Republic Bank/New Energy Events LLC webinar series, From the Frontline: Caribbean Corporate Leaders on the Impacts of COVID-19 took place on Tuesday 11, August.

The series is the latest initiative by the Corporate and Investment Banking Division of Republic Bank aimed at highlighting unique challenges faced by Caribbean businesses and sharing real time best practices for businesses adversely affected by the pandemic.

The virtual audience of 465 persons, were treated to a thought provoking discussion about the continued fall out from the COVID-19 pandemic by corporate leaders in the hospitality, manufacturing, construction and finance industry.

The panel featured Clarence “King” Flowers, Owner/Director, Flowers Group; Peter George, CEO, Trent Ltd.; Derwin Howell, Executive Director, Republic Bank Limited and Ralph “Bizzy” Williams, Founder and Chairman, Williams Group. The panel was moderated by Maria Daniel, Partner, Strategy & Transactions, Ernst and Young. She has over 25 years’ experience specializing in financial services and leads EY Caribbean’s Innovation and Strategy Services.

Ralph “Bizzy” Williams urged corporate leaders to not rush to cut jobs. He said, “These things would worry me a lot. We tried to keep our staff all employed and every single one of our staff was paid a living wage while we were completely shut down. So I don’t subscribe to the view that you just close things and send home people. It can’t happen so because you are going to develop a society that is not going to be stable.”

While, Derwin Howell said, “Leadership at all levels will see us through this crisis, governmental leadership is critical but also business leadership will also be critical for taking us through.” He went on to say “A big part of the challenge that we are facing in this crisis is something that has been triggered by the failure by a lot of people to do – change their behavior, behaviors change is critical at all levels business and personal, we have to change our behavior in the new normal.”

Clarence “King” Flowers echoed Howell’s sentiments stating, “Leadership, good responsible humane leadership at every level, I personally believe there are few situations that good leadership can’t fix and I don’t believe that there is any situation that bad leadership can’t destroy.”

Peter George speaking from his personal experience said, “I’ve intervened in a massive way in the last couple of months to keep my business going that included keeping everyone employed for multiple reasons one, the moral and ethical aspects, and two because we don’t know, we hope to survive 2020.” He went onto say, “It’s difficult to lay off people from a purely mechanical aspect in a business because if in 2-3 months’ time things get back to normal reintegrating them becomes costly, it becomes difficult, I think what this has done it has forced you to become a bit more efficient.”

Sharing her thoughts about the webinar Daniels said, “It was a pleasure moderating the panel discussion with Caribbean leaders Bizzy Williams from Barbados, Clarence Flowers from Cayman and Peter George and Derwin Howell from Trinidad, all well known in their respective fields. The discussion was not centered around the doom and gloom the world seems to want to share about COVID-19 but the opportunities and optimism that when we deal with this pandemic we would come out stronger and better.”

The webinar can be viewed by accessing the following link:

August 17, 2020
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