Businessman Christian Mouttet yesterday hit low productivity among the local workforce as he spoke at a pre Budget forum at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain. Mouttet made headlines recently when he was appointed sole investigator into the seabridge fiasco by Prime Minister Keith Rowley.
Mouttet, who is chairman of Prestige Holdings which has the local franchise for Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), called for higher productivity as he recalled restaurant owners’ lament of a standard absenteeism rate reaching 40 percent. His call for increased productivity was endorsed in a later address by Rowley. Mouttet also urged that white collar crime be tackled, saying violent crime cannot otherwise be stemmed.
Also speaking at the forum, Energy Chamber CEO Dr Dax Driver recalled an energy efficiency project where a 150 percent tax-break was promised where people actually lost their money as the Energy Ministry had no system to certify them, in a scheme that looked good on paper but was not so in reality.
Calypsonian Dr Hollis “Chalkdust” Liverpool urged more State funding of calypso tents, revealing that artistes at the Kaiso Revue have voted no to appear next Carnival. Rowley in reply said that some Carnival bodies spend millions of dollars with no proper accountability, although he hoped Imbert could help. Imbert in turn said tremendous sums of millions of dollars are spent on Carnival, adding, “Where does all this money goes.”
Speaking later at a press conference which followed the pre-Budget forum, Rowley touched on the Sandals resort proposed for Tobago, saying this will be owned by the people and Government and “merely run” by the Sandals organisation. Revealing that no agreement has yet been signed, Rowley said the Sandals head had been about to visit TT when the Sandals Group suffered significant damage to its hotels by the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. “That has put back the plan,” he said. Refuting criticisms, Rowley said the resort will be similar to how the Hyatt Regency is privately-run but State-owned.
Asked about a possible devaluation to cull forex haemorrhaging, Rowley said he is not treating with devaluation but rather management of the country’s reduced forex earnings.