“When you arrive we will have a lovely fruit salad waiting for you.” These were the words that marked the end of my first conversation with Nicole Joseph-Chin, social entrepreneur and founder of Ms
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TTMA’s Lok Jack: T&T Business sector can help fight crime
The business sector in T&T has ideas to combat crime, Nicholas Lok Jack, president of the T&T Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) said yesterday. “Crime needs to be solved. We are not crime fighters but there are aspects as business people we think we can recommend clearly with regard to the administration of crime.
“All criminal records and criminal activity should be computerised. We need to step into the age of new technology. A lot of countries are ahead of us,” he said in his contribution to the T&T Group of Professional Association’s (TTGPAS) re-budget seminar at the Queen’s Park Oval, Port-of-Spain. Lok Jack said the judicial system needs to be modernised and made more efficient.
“We take up a lot of court time right now with traffic violations sitting right next to murder cases. The US has a system of a misdemeanor court and a felony court. “Maybe we should have a night court or a separate court which deals with the felony crime not being tied up with traffic offence,” he said. Lok Jack praised the Ministry of Finance for reducing the number of VAT refunds owed to the manufacturing sector.
“We are not cleared as yet but the backlog is coming down,” he said. He also spoke about the need for the “idle cash” in the banking system to be put to use. “The paradox is small businesses have tremendous problems getting loans. We need to get banks to take a little more risk with capital to invest in our people and local businesses. Let us get that entrepreneurship going,” he urged.
Lok Jack said T&T must explore new markets that have not been looked at in the past: “There are certain countries in the region that are politically unstable that T&T has a good political relationship with. I think Venezuela and Cuba are good markets. We have to explore Cuba and get in there before the Americans go in and carry our brands and products in,” he said. He said Exim Bank should be able to finance trade with countries like Cuba and spoke about Venezuelans doing business here.
“There is a big contingent of Venezuelans coming in to the Trade and Investment Show (TIC) and these are buyers so we must ensure that our local business people are confident selling goods to Venezuela,” he said.