Implementing strategies to deal with corruption in Trinidad and Tobago will facilitate improvement in the economic performance
As have been said in past posts in the cross cutting issues category, if we can reduce the level of corruption then more money will be available to develop the economy. Previous posts outlined the following measures:
- Tackle the problem by having a proper Needs Assessment done –This can prevent the funding of uneconomic high profile projects
- Conduct Effective Procurement Investigations
- Conduct due diligence background checks.
- Equip the Inland Revenue department to be able to trace assets received/acquired during any period
- Review the operations of the Inland Revenue Department and its legislation, amend the legislation if necessary and put systems in place in the department to deal with persons who corruptly acquire assets and do not pay taxes (the Al Capone Story).
- Ensure that procurement documents of government projects are available on line and updated with information re implementation of the procurement.
- Law enforcement officials must have relationships with external bodies that have information to share and who can tell what are the wire transfers going out and who are the political or public officials who have accounts in offshore havens.
- Have a public procurement law that tackles corruption; this being necessary for good governance.
- Have campaign reform legislation dealing with major contributors to political parties’ campaign.
- Political parties/officials must have the will to do what is necessary and to enforce the laws
- Have a joint approach to tackling the issue of corruption that must involve several key government organizations
Additional Strategies to Tackle the issue of improving the economic performance of Trinidad and Tobago
We also have to look at having systems that will ensure plans of one administration are continued when another administration comes into power. In Trinidad and Tobago we had had several changes of government and each administration restarts a planning process using the same public officials. This is based on the belief that each administration should implement its own plan. This is often time wasting and by the time implementation comes along we have another election. In Port of Spain we have several high storey buildings lying incomplete while the government rents buildings and concentrates on new ventures. These incomplete buildings, some of which have been incomplete for years, are deteriorating whilst public officials are in buildings that have serious problems like that housing the Licensing Authority.
We also have to look at the issue of campaign promises, made often without all the relevant facts, being implemented even when it is obvious that they should not be implemented.
If our economies are to improve we have to look at the question of government expenditure and how things are being done. We need a system whereby the public can bring pressure to bear on governments that waste public funds. Millions of dollars are being wasted e.g paving roads that do not need paving and nothing can be done about it. We can continue to push for increased revenues but the real task is to control expenditure and ensure value for money and funding of projects that add value and ensure the continued strength of our countries.