Pablo Breard dislikes the word crisis.
Instead, the Head of International Research at the Scotiabank Group, based in Toronto, Canada, prefers to see the world economy as being in a state of change and transformation.
"Every single country is right now in the process of finding the right model to develop. The context in the world is changing for the better," Breard told the Business Express.
In an interview at the Hilton Trinidad two Thursdays ago, Breard said the fundamental difference was not that change was happening, but the speed at which information was travelling.
"The velocity and speed by which we get information today is much higher and that creates a lot of anxiety. All of a sudden we find people all over the world worrying about what will happen in Athens as the biggest issue in the world, and it's not. The biggest issue is what is happening in our own country to create better conditions for our people. We're getting distracted by external issues. On the one hand we need to come up with policies to develop and understanding what's going on outside is important, but at the end of the day we are the drivers of change," he says.
Breard, an Argentine who is also Scotiabank's Chief Latin American Economist responsible for Emerging Market Intelligence, was in Trinidad for a short evaluation trip and made this observation for Trinidad and Tobago:
"I find the biggest complaint people have on every trip I make is they always complain against the government—regardless of the ideology—because it's easy to blame them. Nobody will come to develop your country; if you don't know how to develop your country then you have a problem... The starting point is the individual."
For the Caribbean, Breard notes one of the trends that can have a significant impact is the United States looking after itself more.
"The US has its own domestic problems, and their dominance is lowering to a degree in world affairs. They can't dictate what Caribbean countries are going to do; it's up to Caribbean countries to do that," he says.
Proximity counts, and Breard believes the Caribbean would benefit from connection with emerging powers in Latin America – Brazil in particular.
"The world is less unilateral (with the US dominance decreasing) and becoming more multilateral, so there is a good opportunity to start connecting with other parts of the world... Integration should not just be political will; we have to link economic resources with markets," he says.
For Trinidad and Tobago, Breard sees many positives.
That quasi-fixed rate is a positive for this country. It provides a shield from volatility to an extent every day; it also allows the monetary authorities to collect reserves and to increase the size of the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund, which has been a very successful initiative," he said.
However, he said what's been observed is food price pressures have caused an escalation in the inflation rate. "That's fine so long as that degree of inflation is not translated to overall retail prices. But it seems sometimes it's impossible to avoid," he notes.
Breard admits he hasn't looked at the local economy's growth potential analytically, but evidence from his reading points to the expectation of moderate recovery, taking place right now and will continue in 2013.
One major change he has seen, however, is the country's adaptability to enhancing its natural gas capabilities.
"When I was here four years ago, everyone was discussing the potential of the gas industry, for both LNG development and the eventual link with petrochemical industry. That has been a success. That is not a minor issue- that is a major accomplishment for a small economy like Trinidad and we have to celebrate that," he says.
But, he notes, the capability the country has in developing that industry, needs access to reserves.
"The basins are there, so how to create incentives and execute exploration plans? You will not find reserves if you don't explore... This is a small economy within a turbulent world economy. It's turbulent because it's changing and I think that change will be positive overall because it will allow us not to depend and be able to choose what we like to do and who we do business with," he said.