Chief Administrator in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), Raye Sandy, has pledged to root out the corruption that he says exists in the Assembly.
Sandy, speaking at reception hosted by THA Chief Secretary, Kelvin Charles on the occasion of the 55th Anniversary of the Independence of Trinidad and Tobago at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex last Tuesday, said he has taken note of comments by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley that Government’s major challenge was corruption.
“As the most senior public servant on the island, I would do all in my authority to ensure that this habit does not take further root in Tobago and wherever it exists, it will be exposed and rooted out,” he declared.
Stressing that Tobago has not been spared a growing corruption habit, he said this habit manifests itself in various ways.
“When an employee demands gifts from suppliers to initiate preferential payment on an invoice or when a supplier offers gifts to an employee to initiate an invoice. Or, when we as employees alter our working hours to six hours per day, while contracted to work for eight, or when as employers, we deduct wages from employees as a penalty for frivolous offences without due process, we are all guilty of corruption,” he said.
Declaring that “corruption stymies a country”, Sandy said if Trinidad and Tobago were to confront and encounter corruption on the financial front, the country must become more pro-active and eradicate it.
He listed steps the THA has taken steps to deal with corruption.
“Professional Procurement have been recruited and placed in all Divisions of the Assembly,” he announced.
“And even with the current anticipated laws and regulations that govern the procurement of goods and services, best practices have been used to ensure that the THA gets value for money in a transparent manner,” he added.
Charles, also speaking at the event, also said he was determined to eliminate corruption in the THA.
“We are currently reviewing the operations of the various divisions of the THA in an effort to eliminate waste, increase efficiently and output and to do so, we have to use less input resources.
“We are determined to eliminate corruption and therefore we have begun to implement stringent measures,” he said.
Charles also told guests at the event that his indicated that administration was working assiduously towards autonomy for the island, that it was a priority on for the THA.
“I wish to give all assurance that the THA is currently in consultation with a sub-committee of the Cabinet regarding the draft bill for autonomy for Tobago. Upon completion of this part of the process, the draft bill will be forwarded to the Parliament for debate,” he said.
In November 2016, the THA, under the guidance of the Tobago Forum of Political Leaders led by former THA Chief Secretary, Orville London, had forwarded a draft autonomy bill to Cabinet for consideration.