Saturday, February 24, 2018

White-collar crime holding back T&T, says AmCham CEO


AmCham LAUNCH: Minister of Labour Errol McLeod, second from left, shares a light moment with, from left, Tyrone Kalpee, vice-president, Safety and Operational Risk, bpTT; Caroline Toni Sirju-Ramnarine, vice-president, Corporate Operations at Atlantic, and Nirad Tewarie, chief executive officer, AmCham T&T, during the launch of AmCham’s 18th Annual HSSE Conference and Exhibition held at Hilton Trinidad, St Ann’s, yesterday. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY


Inadequate governance and the “impunity” of white collar-crime are severely hampering the country’s ability to be competitive.

This was the view of recently appointed chief executive at the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham T&T) Nirad Tewarie as he spoke during AmCham T&T’s 18th Annual Health, Safety, Security and Environment Conference and Exhibition at the Hilton Trinidad yesterday.

Tewarie referred to an arrest early Saturday where police intercepted the driver of a sports utility vehicle in San Juan with US$500,000 after an alleged drug deal earlier.

“We do not believe that there is anything to celebrate when the only person who is arrested for allegedly transporting more than (TT) $3 million in drug money is a driver. The authorities must find out to whom the money really belonged,” Tewarie said.

He said AmCham T&T was looking forward to the prosecution of people responsible for the misappropriation of Government funds.

“Those who are responsible must be held accountable and consequences meted out. A lack of accountability in the society is contributing to inadequate governance. As it pertains to HSSE, if no one is held accountable, the entire process is compromised. So to should it be across sectors and fields,” Tewarie said.

For economic growth and development to take place in a sustained manner and, more importantly, for such growth to lead to greater social development, “our national institutions must be properly developed”, he noted.

“As a responsible organisation, AmCham T&T has already made proposals to the Ministry of Finance to improve the efficiency of the tax system. We also had a seminar earlier in the year on white collar crime. As part of our strategic plan, we will increase our vociferousness on issues such as these,” Tewarie said.