Teacher absenteeism could create a bleak future for the nation’s children, warned business Christopher Alcazar, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association (TTMA) at the association’s annual awards ceremony on Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain.
“Teachers absence leaves our children to be unemployable,” he chided. “Crime today starts with the teacher who doesn’t come to school and the parent not spending time with their child.”
Alcazar is head of Vemco, formerly of Associated Brands, on the board of Export TT and a University of Tampa graduate.
Alcazar suggested several acts that ordinary people can do to build the nation, even in the current economic lull, saying, “Nation building is up to everyone who lives here.” He advocated a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay.
Alcazar urged citizens to take great pride in products made in TT, not kowtow to foreign brands.
“Some countries are so proud of anything local. We need to get there. Supporting a TT-made product means you are supporting us as a nation.” He said “buying local” means less stress on TT’s limited foreign exchange supply and supporting some 6,000 people in jobs in the local manufacturing sector.
Alcazar saw four steps to build this country’s economic base as: diversification, productivity, customer service and simply obeying the law. “It’s up to us to build a better society and a better economy.
He lamented that low productivity and poor work ethics fell short of the ideals of two of the three national watchwords, discipline and productivity.
Alcazar saw poor work ethic as the biggest problem facing local businesses, followed by government bureaucracy, corruption and crime. He hoped the trade unions would commit to nation-building. Alcazar said a pay-for-performance system would create a totally different TT. He said a mindset change and a cultural realignment are needed to craft a better society.