Thursday, December 14, 2017

Step in right direction

Chamber on constitutional reform:


Chamber chief executive: Catherine Kumar

Mark Fraser

Constitutional reform principles are a step in the right direction but more time is needed to analyse Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s statements on the issue, the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce has said.

In response to the Prime Minister’s announcement in the House of Representatives Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain only on Monday on the proposed constitutional reforms, the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce is of the view that more time is needed to make any comprehensive statement on the contents of the Constitutional (Amendment) (2014) Bill, the business group said yesterday.

“While we may need more time to analyse the Prime Minister’s statement, I can say that the chamber has always believed that accountability, good governance, effective representation and transparency are all the hallmarks of a properly-functioning political system,” said chamber chief executive Catherine Kumar.

“The chamber’s focus on the above has led it to be involved in several initiatives such as establishing the T&T Debates Commission in 2010; partnering to develop and launch the National Corporate Governance Code in 2013; and in July 2014, being part of the civil society group responsible for drafting the recently released code of ethical political conduct. The chamber has also been very vocal in its calls for campaign finance reforms.”

Kumar added: “We believe that the reform principles outlined in the media reports are a step in the right direction. However, we intend to review the Constitutional (Amendment) (2014) Bill to truly understand the modus operandi for achieving the objectives as detailed in the bill’s explanatory note.”

In the upcoming days, the chamber will be meeting with a committee comprising business, legal and political experts to review the bill in more detail, with a view to submitting meaningful comments to the legislators, the statement said.