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Business leaders respond to Mouttet-led Implementation Committee

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Business leaders are welcoming the idea of a committee to liaise between government and the private sector, but even as they express support on the initiative, they admit to being unclear on the mandate of the committee.

President of the American Chamber of Industry and Commerce Mitchell de Silva believes one of the terms of reference of the committee “should be aligned with the government’s development agenda.”

He said government has to “articulate what its agenda is and what they are looking for.”

De Silva said “the fact that government is forming a committee to facilitate better communication is good, but we need to know exactly what the intent or the terms of reference are. Ultimately forming the committee is one thing. But without terms of reference we don’t know what is achieved.”

CEO of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce Gabriel Faria said the Committee comprises business members who are “successful in the commercial environment, and will add significant value. It seems to be a well constituted committee but we want more information as to the remit to get a better understanding of how it will work.”

CEO of the Massy Group Gervase Warner said he also needed to get more information on the committee and its mandate.

Warner’s hope is that there would be “expediting of implementation of projects.”

The Committee is chaired by businessman Christian Moutett and includes Chairman of the trinidad and Tobago Financial Centre (TTIFC) Richard Young, Managing Director of Kenson Group of Companies Blair Ferguson, Chairman of the Nutrimix Group of Companies and Caribbean Airlines Shamir Ronnie Mohammed and General Manager of Bacolet Beach Club and Half Moon Hotel in Tobago Gloria Jones-Knapp.

Former CEO of the TT Chamber Catherine Kumar said successive governments have had committees, some she said “became too political, but we certainly have had successful ones.”

Kumar recalled the Ken Gordon Vision 2020 Committee under the Patrick Manning administration which she said was “made up of lots of expertise. I remember I was at AMCHAM then and it was a good approach.”

However she said the government had to be “careful in setting up committees to do the work, because you don’t want duplication and then the bodies end up in conflict with each other. Sometimes you see that happening and you say there is already a state enterprise or another entity doing the same work. That sort of harmonisation needs to be done."


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