Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 23rd 2014 Contents A9
November 23, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
VACANCY - CUSTOMS CLERKS
• Apprentices, Grade 1s, Grade 11s or 111s
• Minimum 5 O'Levels must include
English and Mathematics
• Proficiency in Ace 2004 and Asycuda
will be an asset.
• Preferably 1 - 2 years working
experience in the customs brokerage field.
• Valid Driver's Permit an asset.
• Ability to work independently and must
possess a positive/team-oriented attitude.
"For any leader or decision maker
to act improperly with regard to public
resources, on average, five public sec-
tor professionals would have had to
have turned a blind eye, turned a deaf
ear, or not have spoken up."
So said Margaret Rose, attorney and
executive director of the Caribbean
Procurement Institute Ltd (CPI).
The CPI will host the fourth
Caribbean Public Procurement Con-
ference on December 1 and 2 at the
Hyatt Regency Hotel. Rose said the CPI
has been hosting these conferences
since 2008, but that the event was very
timely given that the Public Procure-
ment and Disposal of Property Bill 2014
is being debated in the Lower House.
Rose said while having the correct
legislation in place was important, the
role of culture and the individual in
ensuring that these laws were followed
cannot be ignored.
"We find that in this context, espe-
cially in procurement and anti-cor-
ruption, citizens and professionals tend
to perceive governance in a top-down
manner. They believe the responsibility
for good governance lies in the hands
of the leadership."
Rose said the conference, themed
"Redefining Governance, Empower-
ment and Collaboration as Elements
of Change," will focus on the empow-
erment of the public in playing their
role as watchdog, focusing especially
on professionals in the public service
and public service suppliers.
"What we are trying to do is empow-
er all of the stakeholders to share
responsibility for good procurement.
They can only share responsibility if
they are empowered, not only with
knowledge, not only with strategies,
but also with tools which support them.
Procurement conference December 1, 2 at Hyatt to...
Empower citizens as watchdogs
"I am convinced that the vast
majority of public sector profes-
sionals and suppliers want to do
what is right. It is a very small
minority that is attempting to and
is engaging in corrupt activity, and
we must empower those who want
they are also protecting them-
'Create an environment where
people are not victimised
for standing up'
The lawyer said the conference
will equip those who want to stand
up against wrongdoing with the
tools to do this in a responsible
and lawful manner.
Some of the workshop modules
over the course of the two days
include The Art of Whistle Blow-
ing, Public Officers and Public
Interest: The Ethics of Dissent,
and Managing Procurement Fraud
Rose said it was important that
people understood that there is
support for those who want to
come forward with what they
"That's one of the things we
started to see. There are people
who started to gain in the knowl-
edge, gain in the sophistication,
understand fully what needs to be
done. But they felt there was no
support for them if they stood up
to their superiors or if they thought
to speak out in any way."
She said T&T needs to create
an environment where people are
not victimised for standing up.
Also, where people understand
strategically how they can protect
themselves while seeking to protect
the public interest."
At this year's conference, Rose
said, several global procurement
experts are expected to speak,
including Dr Sope Williams Elegbe,
author of Fighting Corruption in
Public Procurement, and Norma
Garza, head of the World Bank's
Open Contracting Partnership Ini-
tiative. Former head of the Public
Service Reginald Dumas will chair
On December 1, Rose said, the
public can attend a free session at
4 pm for a panel discussion on the
new procurement legislation being
laid in the Parliament. She said
regional and international experts
will "weigh in on the bill, bench-
mark then interrogate it."
The attorney said procurement
was an issue everyone should be
interested in, since it is inextri-
cably tied to a country's devel-
"It is very important to the man
on the street because a govern-
ment cannot achieve its first
development goal, it cannot
secure the nation, it cannot pro-
vide appropriate health care, it
cannot provide appropriate and
adequate education...All of the
goals that impact the man on the
street, a government would not
be able to achieve those goals if
they do not procure accountably."
Speaking about a platform
called Disclosure Today, Rose said,
"Everyone will be able to go onto
the platform and engage with it
right there. We are very excited
about it. The platform is powered
by lawyers seeking the public
interest. And the platform is
Explaining how it works, Rose
said, it is an online and mobile
app which features a disclosure
aspect. "Anyone with knowledge
of wrongdoing can upload it to
this part of the site," she said.
"It is public interest disclosure.
That aspect of the platform is
entirely confidential. There are
lawyers supporting the platform
who will vet the public interest
disclosures and we will take it
Rose said The Lisbon Innova-
tion Kluster was sourced through
a procurement process to develop
the platform and will be on hand
to walk the public through a
demonstration of its features.
Of Disclosure Today, Rose said,
"We intend to scale it globally.
We are giving Trinidad and Toba-
go the opportunity to demonstrate
to the world that we are leading
in terms of technology and gov-
The CPI executive director said
while she believes in the platform
100 per cent, it remains up to the
public to come on board and see
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