The Employers Consultative Association of Trinidad and Tobago (ECA) is deeply concerned about the recent statistics revealed in Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perception Index. The ECA notes the significant decline in Trinidad and Tobago’s ranking from 72 of 168 countries in 2015 to 101 of 176 countries in 2016.
While the ECA is aware that this is essentially a measure of the perception of corruption in the public sector, we are also aware that this perception can be extrapolated as a country wide issue with obvious adverse effects on the country’s risk profile for investment, borrowing and general commerce.
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago must see this is an urgent call to action even as measures continue to be implemented through legislative and policy agendas that have been articulated over time. The ECA therefore joins the clarion call for swift and decisive action with regards to the enactment of legislation relating to procurement practices in the public sector, political party campaign financing, whistleblowing and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). These efforts alone will not solve our problems but will certainly demonstrate a commitment by our institutions and leaders to achieve the level of transparency and ethical behaviour that we all hope for.
Additionally, in recognising that a collective effort is required, the ECA also calls on employers and businesses to ensure that effective systems of governance and codes of ethics for business operations are implemented and compliance is monitored with appropriate sanctions for non-compliance. This is a critical matter which will chart the path for greater transparency in public sector procurement, mindful that good ethics means good business and good business reaps rewards that can benefit both company and country.