The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce (T&T Chamber) is calling for zero tolerance on the issue of corruption—any form of corruption.
In an official statement issued today, Sunday 6 December 2020, the T&T Chamber maintains that there is need for “strict enforcement of the law” when it comes to dealing with corruption matters in this country.
The Chamber’s release stated:
“The T&T Chamber is firm on its stance for strict enforcement of the law and maintains zero tolerance for any form of corruption. In fact, we have been fearlessly advocating for the enactment, proclamation and enforcement of legislation to address issues related to procurement, freedom of information, campaign finance reform and whistleblower protection.”
The business lobby lamented that successive government administrations have failed to properly address these issues surrounding the policing and eradication of corruption in this country, and called for action.
“We believe that if these safeguards are implemented it would limit opportunities for parties to engage in activities such as bribery since an environment of openness and accountability will prevail across all sectors,” the T&T Chamber asserted.
It also challenged the general public to make a report to the Police Service whenever a bribe is demanded of them.
“Tackling corruption requires a sense of collective responsibility and we therefore encourage any individual who is asked to pay a bribe or who is offered a bribe to report it immediately to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service so that the necessary action can take place,” the T&T Chamber said.
The Chamber also put the spotlight on the Public Sector, and the fact that there is a correlation between the ease of doing business and high scores on the global corruption indices.
“Feedback from the International Chamber of Commerce is that in some markets efforts are made by the public sector to reduce the ease of doing business in an effort to encourage the payment of bribes. It is important to note that over the years Trinidad and Tobago has consistently scored low on the ease of doing business index and high on the corruption index. The reality is the country’s development ultimately suffers,” the statement noted.
It added: “Public sector corruption adds substantially to the costs of public goods and services, contributes to the misallocation of public resources, weakens policymaking and diminishes public confidence. Similarly, private corruption distorts markets, prevents a fair and efficient private sector, thereby increasing costs and reduces the quality of products and services available to the population.”