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Investors will be scared off
Government must deal with crime first before dealing with the issue of sustainable development, president of Trinidad and Tobago Automotive Dealers' Association, Visham Babwah, said yesterday. Babwah made the comment to Planning and Sustainable Development Dr Bhoe Tewarie during a consultation on the proposed Implementation Strategy for the 4Cs (Couva, Charlieville, Carapichaima and Chaguanas) Growth Pole in central Trinidad.
Babwah said crime must be addressed if T&T wants investment. “We cannot have sustainable development in a country, if we do not have safety. Nobody wants to invest their money if the crime level is increasing,” he said. With the current murder rate at 20 in 8 days at the time of the event, Babwah said it was imperative that a solution to the crime problem be found if government is serious about investment.
“We have to deal with the crime situation before you have people coming to invest,” he said. “I have people in Japan, people in Singapore, people in Malaysia who want to come and invest here but because of the crime they will not come.” The consultation, which was held at the Couva/Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce conference hall, Camden, Couva, was aimed at presenting government’s plans for developing the central region and attracting entrepreneurial investments.
However, Babwah said it was important that at all consultations, businesspeople continue to raise the issue of crime. “Whenever we go to consultations we must always draw the attention to crime and what is happening,” he said. “If crime is paying in the country and it is lucrative, people will continue committing crimes.
At every stage in the development of a country we must bring laws to deal with the severity of the crime.” He stressed the need for appropriate legislation to deal with criminals who are running rampant on the streets of T&T. Babwah said if they are going into prison and coming back out the next day, then that is not dealing with crime. His comments were welcomed by members of the audience, some of whom nodded in approval.
Babwah also called on the minister to consider allowing the construction of multi-storey buildings in Chaguanas with mandatory floors for parking. He said some businessmen are denied approvals for multi-storey buildings while others will get a minister’s approval. “We must not be selective when approving places or buildings,” he said.
While Tewarie did not address Babwah’s comments on crime, the minister said he did not have a problem approving multi-storey buildings even up to 20 storeys, but added that they must follow three conditions. The first, he said, is that the developer must have a plan for orderly development and re-organisation of the systems that support Chaguanas.
Secondly, he said all the buildings have to adhere to very strict building codes in keeping with the soil type in relation to the area for presentation, to take into account things like earthquakes. He said the third element is for the buildings to have a green element such as energy conservation, water conservation, waste water management and traffic management.