Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 14th 2015 Contents A11
The creation and ultimate implementation of
systems to link productivity to higher wages in
the public sector will be a priority of the Dr
Keith Rowley administration, Labour Minister
Jennifer Baptiste--Primus has said.
area that I would
place before the tri-
is the develop-
ment of a formu-
la of linking
ty," she said
Showdown programme on I95.5FM.
"I remember a couple years ago, when
I was president of the PSA (Public services Asso-
ciation) I had written the then minister of public
administration indicating that we were prepared to
sit and discuss how do we go about improving and
increasing productivity in the public service: incentives,
the kinds of tool and equipment, the work environment.
There are certain factors that you have to pull together
in order to develop that formula. That is an area of
priority that I would want to place before the tripartite
Baptiste said her intent was to strengthen the small
business development programme under her portfolio
to further stimulate the economy and achieve a greater
push toward economic diversification.
"As we all know, the backbone of any successful
economy are the small businesses. And therefore, I
would want to go in there (the ministry) see what is
happening, what the statistic tells us, how much
money has been loaned out for different businesses.
Are these functioning loans? But how successful are
these businesses for which the monies were loaned
in term of their contribution to the economic activity
of the country and there contribution to the employ-
"I have high expectations for this ministry. Very
high benchmarks will be established. That can t be
done until an assessment is done on what is existing,
at this time," said the minister.
Baptiste-Primus said stated owned National Enter-
prise Development Company Limited (NEDCO) was
the mechanism through which taxpayers were providing
funds to be channelled in the form of start-up capital
to citizens desirous of driving the motor of economic
As such, she said citizens needed to know "whether
or not those loans are being repaid? Whether or not
there are lapses? What kind of mechanisms are in
place to ensure this wheel continues to turn in a
Addressing the issue of income inequality, she said
the matter would be put before the tripartite committee,
which she insisted was an important organ and mech-
anism that would bring everyone on board.
"We know the scale will never be equally balanced.
That would be Utopian," Baptiste-Primus said.
"But at least people can earn what is popularly
referred to as a living wage. When people work and
they cannot sustain themselves, then there is a negative
spin-off in the crime rate; in all the other negative
areas of the society."
The T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce
(TTCIC) has welcomed the appointments
of Finance Minister Colm Imbert and
Trade and Industry Minister Paula
In a state-
ment on Fri-
day, hours after
Dr Keith Row-
ley s new Cabi-
net was sworn in
at Queen s Hall,
St Ann s, the
Chamber said the
two ministers are
experienced Parliamentarians and therefore fit
the portfolios given to them.
"The Chamber looks forward to working
closely with the new representatives and in par-
ticular, the respective line ministers in the Min-
istries of Finance and Trade and Industry," it said.
"We acknowledge that both Mr. Colm Imbert
and Mrs. Paula Gopee-Scoon possess several years
of experience gained during their tenure in previous
administrations, and it is expected that this would
serve them in good stead."
Regarding the size of the Cabinet, the TTCIC
commended Rowley for sticking to his manifesto
promise to have a smaller Cabinet.
"Consistent with his manifesto promise, Rowley has
opted to appoint a significantly smaller Cabinet, and
one in which women are well represented. We anticipate
that the new administration will waste no time in
attending diligently to the significant areas of national
interest and as such, we advocate for speedy appoint-
ments to the various Boards of State enterprises, statu-
tory and other similar bodies."
The Chamber stated that it was also heartened by
Rowley s "consistent reference to the accountability
of his Ministers, and his clear acknowledgement that
he holds ultimate responsibility to the people of T&T."
Overall, the business group congratulated members
of the new Cabinet.
Also supporting the choice of Imbert was the Clico
Policyholders Group, which said he is most "knowl-
edgeable and informed" about the Clico issue.
Chairman Peter Permell said Imbert had made several
"seminal" contributions inside and outside of the Par-
liament in support of the Clico policyholders since the
2009 collapse. "He has also been very critical of the
People s Partnership government s handling of the
issue, particularly as it relates to the lack of meaningful
consultation with the policyholders representatives,
the arbitrary stopping of interest payments to policy-
holders, the secrecy, lack of transparency and account-
ably surrounding the sale of Clico/Cl Financial assets,
the inordinate length of time it is taking to resolve the
Clico issue and the list goes on."
In mid-July Permell had met with former Minister
of Finance Larry Howai to discuss their issues. After
that meeting Permell told members of the media that
there may be some "unintended consequences" if the
members of the group were not paid on their invest-
ments in a timely period. He had called for the group
to be paid before the general elections had been called.
In a statement Friday, Permell said Imbert brings to
his new ministerial post a "wealth of experience"
because he has been a long standing Parliamentarian
with several senior Cabinet portfolios.
Permell said the group would be attempting to seek
a meeting with Imbert to, "finally bring resolution to
the Clico issue in the best interest of all stakeholders
and in particular to ensure that the over 15,000 "assent-
ing" policyholders are paid their just and rightful due.
We would therefore be seeking a meeting with him
at his earliest convenience after he has had a reasonable
opportunity to settle in."
Monday, September 14, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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