Rotary Club Sergeant at Arms Jeremy Matouk, left, chats with Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute Chair Dion Abdool during the Rotary Club lunch with a purpose, at Goodwill Industries, Fitzblackman Drive, Woodbrook, yesterday

Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI) chairman Dion Abdool says the much-anticipated Procurement Legislation should be brought to Parliament as is, without amendments to Section 7 of the Act as proposed by the Minister of Finance.

Last week, Minister Colm Imbert said the legislation would be brought to Parliament in March. Imbert said Section 7, which states, “the pro­cure­ment of goods, works or ser­vices shall be gov­erned by this Act and shall pro­mote the so­cio-eco­nom­ic poli­cies of Trinidad and To­ba­go and shall ad­here to the ob­jects of this Act” as it relates to government-to-government arrangements for goods and services needs to be amended.

Imbert said the amendment would allow for the procurement rules of the other country to be applicable in the event of a dispute.

But speaking at a Rotary Club luncheon in Woodbrook yesterday, Abdool said this should not be done and if the government intends to make any changes to the legislation, those changes should be made public immediately.

“So we would know fully and be fully aware of what is going before the Parliament, a lot of us have been involved in lobbying and advocating for this legislation, doing drafts, reviewing drafts for 10, 12, 15 years, men and women before me- Reggie Dumas, Victor Hart, etc,” he said. “They have all been around lobbying for this legislation, let us all have a look because it benefits all of us.”

Abdool said the legislation needs to be proclaimed now and as it is, without any changes. He said once that happens, T&T can expect to score better in the global Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI.)

“Our performance on the CPI will improve but implementation does not mean that the world is going to be good tomorrow, it is going to take some time to implement it, to operationalise it, but if we don’t take that first step now, it is forever going to be tomorrow,” he said.

Last week, Abdool announced that T&T had placed 85 out of 183 countries ranked in the CPI. He said then the average score was 43.

In 2018’s CPI, T&T scored 41 and was ranked 78.

The CPI ranks countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to experts and business people. The index uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.