In a quote made by the late Dr. Eric Eustace Williams, the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, at the 1977 commissioning of the construction of the iron and steel complex at the Point Lisas Industrial Estate, Dr. Williams basically summarized Trinidad and Tobago’s approach to development as resource based industrialization by invitation.
“There were attempts to persuade us that the simplest and easiest thing to do would be to export our oil, export our gas, do nothing else and just receive the revenues derived from such exports and lead a life of luxury, at least for a limited period. This the government has completely rejected, for it amounts to putting the entire nation on the dole. Instead we have taken the more difficult road and that is—accepting the challenge of entering the world of steel, aluminum, methanol, fertilizer, petrochemicals, in spite of our smallness and in spite of our existing level of technology.”
Today, the twin-island state’s success in utilizing its petroleum assets to drive economic growth and development in the non-petroleum sectors of its economy is well known and is acknowledged in the international oil and gas trade as the “Trinidad and Tobago Model” of development.