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Time to tackle crime, corruption as priorities
Hugh Howard, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in T&T (AmCham TT), says one of the country’s top priorities for 2014 should be tackling crime and corruption.
“Those are the two areas we really need to look at. We must work feverishly so that the country can move forward. The country needs to look at white colour crime, which is something both national and foreign investors examine. We need investor confidence,” he told the T&T Guardian. Howard said he is pleased with the trade agreements T&T signed with other Latin American countries in 2013.
“In 2013, we have been able to conclude a couple of trade agreements with Panama and Guatemala and they are partial scope. If T&T’s manufacturers and service providers work with the Government as the enabling agency then there would be benefits for the country. For the economy to develop we must become more trade oriented,” he said. He also called for more accountability in 2014.
“People need to make proper decisions. The channels through which proper information can be passed from top to bottom—people on the street, people who hold high offices, everyone—we must be able to say this is what is being done for the good of the country. “There needs to be greater harmony among all nationals of T&T. Let us cut through party lines and certainly ethnic ones and see ourselves as people of one country,” Howard said.
The AmchamTT president also called for a cultural change in the way business and other serious activities are conducted in the country. “We need to get away from patronage and someone being a strong supporter of a political party. The country should use the capability and talents of that person instead. Our country is too small for that kind of thing.
“Just because a person speaks his or her mind that does not mean they must be left out of the decision making process. Once we decide we are looking for true talent and people who want the best for the country, we will do well,” he said.
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