Trinidad & Tobago’s new High Commissioner is quite familiar with Canada. Philip Buxo turned in his work permit for a diplomatic passport last month to become the twin-island republic’s top envoy in Canada.
He has been here for the past four years serving as director of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) region energy and infrastructure division of SNC-Lavalin, one of the world’s leading engineering and construction firms with an annual budget of $8 billion.
Established in 1911, the company provides engineering, procurement, construction, project management and project financing services to myriad industry sectors in Canada and across a multicultural network that spans every continent.
“I enjoyed my time with the company, but the decision to leave was easy because I envisage my new role as an opportunity to give back to the country of my birth,” said Buxo, who replaces Camille Robinson-Regis, who was recalled last September. “I made myself available to serve my country and I was not totally surprised when I received the call.
“Over the years, I have been successful in business in Trinidad & Tobago and I have been able to grasp an understanding of corporate Canada since 2007. I have been exposed to both sides and I now have the chance to increase business and cultural opportunities for T & T.”
Buxo is encouraging nationals interested in contributing to the development of T & T to contact his Ottawa office.
“This is an opportunity to reverse the brain drain and now is a fantastic time to get nationals registered with the High Commission,” he said. “The country is receptive to those who would like to make a contribution to the nation-building process. I know people who would love to share their wealth of knowledge and expertise and some of them are willing to do so at no cost to our government.
“All they want to do is just give back. Anyone with anything to offer can contact the High Commission and we will make the right link back in T & T.”
Prior to joining SNC-Lavalin, Buxo was the managing director of Snubbing Services Ltd., a Mayaro-based company he acquired in 1998 which serviced the diverse logistics and personnel outsourcing requirements in the energy sector in T & T and internationally.
The company owned and developed the largest industrial estate in Galeota Point which has a significant portion of T & T’s gas and oil reserves. It was also instrumental in introducing key international energy sector suppliers to the twin-island republic’s market.
Buxo also worked closely with the Canadian Commercial Corporation which is mandated to promote and facilitate international trade on behalf of Canadian industry, particularly within government markets, and Export Development Canada which provides trade finance and risk management services to Canadian exporters and investors in 200 global markets.
The new envoy said one of his priorities is to oversee the completion of the refurbishment of the new building that will house the twin-island republic’s Consulate and labour liaison office. The T & T government acquired the facility, at 185 Sheppard Ave. W., two years ago.
T & T enjoy a longstanding relationship with Canada which covers a wide range of sectors, including education, health, energy and financial services. A full-time Trade Commissioner was appointed to Port-of-Spain in 1938 and official diplomatic relations were established shortly after the twin-island republic achieved independence on August 31, 1962.
The Canadian High Commission opened in Port-of-Spain that same year and the first High Commissioner was accredited a year later.