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to be applied to the governing bodies of the more
than 110 Statutory Boards and other bodies in T&T).
For state boards directors should be motivated
by a desire to provide an important service to the
public at large.
Many directors of state bodies that have decided
to focus upon good governance have found it useful
to use the seven international governance principles
known as the Nolan Principles. These international
principles were developed in the 1990 s in a report
published in the UK by the Committee of Standards
in Public Life that was chaired by Lord Michael
Nolan (see Box 2).
In small island states there are fewer degrees of
separation between individuals compared to the
larger developed countries within the Organisation
for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD). In island states maintaining good relation-
ships matter a great deal and good relationships
are underscored by professional dealings since rep-
utations are easily lost.
Accordingly, a state-appointed director will be
well served if he or she is guided inter alia by the
law (the Companies Act), a professional standard
(through membership in a professional corporate
governance body such as CCGI and the Nolan Prin-
ciples) and a code (the T&T Corporate Governance
Questions members of state boards should
Does our board:
• Undertake an assessment of the independence
of the board each year?
• Publish in the annual report which non-exec-
utive directors are considered to be independent?
• Act solely in terms of the best interest of the
Do I and the other board members:
• Avoid any financial or other obligation to outside
individuals or organisations that might seek to influ-
ence us in the performance of our official duties?
• Make choices on merit when making public
appointments or governing the process for awarding
• Hold ourselves accountable to the public for
decisions and actions and submit ourselves to what-
ever scrutiny is appropriate?
• Remain as open as possible about all our deci-
sions and actions we take and give reasons for our
• Declare any private interests relating to our
• Take steps to avoid any conflicts arising in a
way that protects the public interest?
The Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute
(CCGI), which is a not-for-profit Foundation, has
a mandate to create effective organisations and
efficient markets through board directors that
can be trusted (based on their training, continuous
development and professional values that they
formally commit to as professional members),
and the research, publication, and monitoring of
corporate governance best practice standards
appropriate for the Caribbean.
As part of CCGI's programme aimed at public
directorships, the CCGI aims to support govern-
ment ministers, permanent secretaries, CEOs,
corporate secretaries, directors and other officers
of public bodies in improving governance in the
public sector within T&T.
The CCGI is a regional, independent, non-profit,
professional membership organisation registered
with the Accreditation Council of T&T. CCGI is
the award body that provides the certificate and
diploma in corporate governance and the char-
tered director qualification throughout the
The CCGI welcomes membership applications
and participation in its courses and events
throughout the region. +1 (868) 221-8707
"The government is just wasting money
educating all these people for them to go
abroad to make big money".
It is common as one discusses the
many benefits and drawbacks to the
continuation of the Government
Assistance for Tuition Expenses
(GATE) programme for someone to
point out that GATE has done noth-
ing more than assist more young people to
leave T&T after graduation. This exodus of
qualified citizens usually to more developed
countries is known as brain drain.
However, contrary to popular belief,
requests for employment visas to the three
most popular destinations for skilled grad-
uates (the USA, Canada and the UK), have
at best remained constant since the advent
So, where are these thousand of GATE
graduates? They are all still right here in
T&T starting businesses, or working in the
local public and private sectors. Chances
are nearly 20 per cent of the employed peo-
ple you interact with on a daily basis has
benefited from GATE in one way or another.
With the impending budget having to
face the realities of depressed oil and natural
gas prices on the world markets, the sus-
tainability of GATE is a reality all citizens
will have to contemplate if revenue projec-
tions remain suppressed.
In the IMF and World Bank brands of
development economics, it is commonplace
that these agencies first recommend that
developing economies, like ours, examine
the sustainability of all subsidies. GATE and
the myriad social programmes will undoubt-
edly come under close scrutiny should the
In examining the sustainability of GATE,
one of the first matters to be considered
will be the public and private returns to the
government s investment in GATE. On the
public end, studies will be needed to ascer-
tain whether the public benefits derived
from having GATE outweigh the significant
costs of the programme.
Has the expenditure on social transfers
been reduced with more citizens accessing
Concomitantly, has tax revenue increased
from the higher wages that usually accom-
pany possessing a university degree?
On the private side, one would need to
ascertain whether on a personal level, the
average citizen is benefiting from the uni-
versity degree GATE provides.
Has access to higher education improved
for all citizens?
Has GATE resulted in better-paying jobs?
Are the right type of jobs available for
the numerous graduates churned out each
year by both public and private higher edu-
One of the real concerns---as more grad-
uates are produced to be added to the local
labour market---is overeducation. In the aca-
demic literature, overeducation is observed
to be occurring when workers in the labour
market are occupying positions that require
less schooling than they possess, often at
Overeducation is of real concern in an
economy like T&T, with little economic
diversification, because of the negative cor-
relation between overeducation and pro-
ductivity. The morale of these graduates is
affected as they leave their programmes
with hope of a better, well paying job.
Further, overeducation negatively affects
the productivity of the workplaces where
these graduates will eventually settle.
With little empirical evidence of bene-
fit-cost analyses of the GATE programme
and of the employment outcomes for GATE
graduates, a local education researcher is
attempting to find out what are the real
returns to an investment in GATE for every-
one involved -- the government, the higher
education community, the student, and the
business community, among others. Such
analyses are needed for the future of GATE
to be strengthened.
Denzil Streete, a product of Morvant
Anglican School and QRC. He is a PhD
candidate specialising in the Economics
of Education, at Teachers College at
Columbia University. If you are a graduate
who used GATE funding, feel free to con-
tribute to his findings at www.TTGateS-
From Page 8
Where are the
Ivy League PhD candidate seeks answers
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