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Business leaders on Govt’s six-months review: Room for improvement

Monday, February 29, 2016
Maxie Cuffie

Business groups—and the Opposition—who’ve pronounced on Government’s performance so far will be monitoring the results of the administration’s upcoming retreat this week to see where it takes T&T. Views were expressed to T&T Guardian by the TT Chamber, TT Manufacturers Association, Couva/Pt Lisas Chamber of Commerce and Opposition on the eve of the retreat.

Prime Minister Keith Rowley on his return from Belize recently said his government has done “reasonably well” so far but “there was always room for improvement”. Communication Minister Maxie Cuffie said the retreat will reassess and refashion operations. It coincides with Government’s six-month mark in office this month. 

Cabinet will meet in Tobago on Thursday. Members undertake the retreat after. Venue is the Magdalena Beach and Golf Resort, Lowlands. The People’s Partnership administration had used the same venue for some retreats.

On Government’s performance so far, T&T Chamber chairman Robert Trestrail says, “Government has now had the opportunity to review the economy’s state in greater detail than when they entered office and issued a Budget, so the opportunity to accept there’s room for improvement is a good outlook.”

“So too is the retreat as an initiative to chart the course forward in these trying, difficult times. We look forward to the Finance Minister and PM’s mid-year review and are also very happy to see reinforcement of the National Security with two additional ministers and to hear government is seeking to have Police Commissioner appointed.”

“What the business community is also very concerned about in these difficult times will be its (times) social impact and the need for respective arms to be ever more vigilant in ensuring crime is curbed as the PM articulated at the Chamber’s dinner, crime remains the number one problem on government’s agenda.”

TTMA chairman Rolph Balgobin who said it was still early days yet, believes while people are anxious for quick  action, “on a national level one has to be careful before one moves.”

“Government has taken its time settling in, making sense of the state of play and amalgamating ministries so there’s an inevitable period of orientation and adjustment. What’s going to be interesting is to see where we go from here the speed at which decisions are made and the direction the economy and society are pointed in.”

Couva/Pt Lisas Chamber of Commerce president Liaquat Ali said government hadn’t done “reasonably well” in getting a handle on crime and Rowley had acknowledged that. Nor has government gotten the economy going, though  Ali conceded that was due to the falling oil price. “We’d like to see things happening at a faster rate, but we have to allow time. The private sector will clearly have to drive the economy, but government must be a facilitator,” Ali added.


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