AMERICAN Chamber of Commerce (Amcham TT) CEO Nirad Tewarie has called for electronic tendering and says Cabinet should not be involved in procurement.
He was speaking at a panel discussion for the TT Transparency Institute Launch of the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index held yesterday at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business, Mt Hope. “I do not think the Cabinet has any basis for being involved in procurement whatsoever for anything whether it be a ship or a pencil. And I think we need to move away from that.” He was likely referring to the Cabinet committee set up for the acquisition of vessels for the seabridge in his mention of a “ship.” Tewarie at the panel discussion said to change corruption in TT and across the democratic world the way institutions are designed has to be changed to be responsive to the needs of people. “We have a magic in TT that is so special that if we capture in one electoral cycle we could make huge strides and in two we could change the country.”
He said TT was a magical place, has a lot “going for us” and he has a lot of hope for this society. “But we have to act. We have to hold people to account.”
Tewarie said there were specific pieces of legislation that need to be proclaimed and enacted including all pieces of the procurement legislation, data policies, open data in a practical sense, whistle-blower legislation and decentralisation “so at the level of the individual in the community we can hold our representatives to account.
“I think those things would make a big difference and they are very implementable.” He stressed TT cannot keep doing the same things and expecting different results. “So if you feel you want to pay $100 to speed something up – don’t do it.”
Former permanent secretary Winston Rudder said it has troubled him personally that there is a degree of complacency when it comes to corruption. “The concern is not really corruption but rather ‘them benefiting and we not benefiting.’”
British High Commissioner to TT Tim Stew said to tackle corruption in TT there was a need for action and no words. “Take responsibility and hold people to account.”