Explain your actions
Chamber knocks lack of transparency:
The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce has said while there were "good intentions" behind Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act, the lack of transparency regarding its "premature proclamation" remained a major concern.
"Despite many calls...there still remains no satisfactory explanation from the Government on this matter of national concern," the country's biggest business group said in a statement yesterday.
The chamber cited Trinidad and Tobago's low rankings in the recently released 2012 Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), saying the importance of transparency in any government was an issue that cannot be overemphasised, as it was necessary to build trust between Government and the people.
Out of 144 countries, T&T ranks 104 for public trust in politicians, 85 in irregular payments and bribes, 109 for favouritism in decisions of Government officials and 99 for transparency of Government policy-making.
"Incidents such as the Section 34 controversy only serve to further exacerbate, both locally and internationally, that lack of trust," the chamber said.
"Many of the challenges faced by Trinidad and Tobago within recent years that have impacted on our country's competitiveness have been underpinned by repeating themes of the need for good governance and transparency, particularly by public officials.
"Therefore, the chamber will continue to call for the highest ideals and values of good governance and transparency that is expected of our Government. This matter is certainly not a ten-day wonder, and the chamber calls for an immediate and satisfactory public explanation of the reasons for the early proclamation of this Section.
"We also believe that whether this course of action was done with intent, or in error, this issue must not be swept aside and persons should be held accountable for this grievous act," it added.
The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) yesterday echoed the sentiments made by the T&T Chamber.
In a brief interview with the Express yesterday, AmCham president Hugh Howard said the country should be trying to avoid anything that can give the impression that things were not done in a proper manner, at the risk of eroding confidence in the country, internally and externally.
"These things (like the Section 34 proclamation) may have been well-meaning, but could come over as sinister. These things have now become a distraction from getting urgent matters done. Really and truly we don't need that kind of thing. We should be looking to improve our image," Howard said.