Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 10th 2015 Contents A11
January 10, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
We saw some specific cases in procurement that
troubled us as a board very seriously, and we have
taken action in terms of having an audit being under-
taken. However, when one takes a look at procurement
generally what we see is an opportunity to buy better,
to negotiate better with contractors, to negotiate better
with suppliers, and to sell better in terms of cargo,
and to take responsibility for our own destiny.
The NGC shot into the spotlight after it decid-
ed not to give bonus or increase wages and other
financial benefits until its fortunes had changed.
How was NGC able to ride out that storm?
We have worked very very had to ensure
that our employees are involved, I had a
meeting very early on with with our employ-
ees. Yesterday, I addressed the employees
at National Energy and there was positive
energy with one-and-a-half hours talking
about plans for 2016.
We visited every outpost at which we have
employees and we spoke to them directly.
We have no union at NGC, but we are mak-
ing it our business to give them every oppor-
tunity to see we are one with them and
giving them more opportunities across the
Some of your detractors are saying
that because the workers were not
unionised the NGC took the opportunity
to adopt that unilateral action...
I think that s simplistic, false, and it s very
inaccurate and Clevon, if you had a choice
what would you do? (Me) Obviously you
would want to have your job.
Exactly. I think you have answered it. So
our approach is...we have to ensure that the
company which is competing globally is well
positioned to do so and, therefore, we have
to have a lean organisation which is com-
petitive, productive, and which is using its
capital to be able to take opportunities in
jurisdictions which emerge.
Mr Brooks, the PM also spoke about
the proposed tripartite discussions of
which some trade unions are already
expressing concern in that they fear all
that would transpire would be more
I think it is absolutely important to have
the trade unions on board as partners. I
also think it is absolutely important and
imperative to have the NGOs because that
is a huge community. With the trade unions
there is need to have a constructive dialogue
which speaks to things like productivity.
How do we improve the productivity of
our country so that as the company benefits
the nation also benefits.
Mr Brooks, one topic of discussion
by the general public is the possibility
of T&T devaluating its currency even
though that falls within the realm of
the Central Government. Is it prudent
now, down the road, or is it inevitable?
I think that if we operate at the current
rate of $2.5 billion in a year, we are going
to rapidly deplete our foreign exchange
reserves. Our reserves stand right now at
11 months, previously they were 13 months.
So we have to be careful how we utilise our
(After a somewhat lengthy disser-
tation in this context) Mr Brooks, with
all respect, you did not fully respond
to my question. Is the answer yes or
(A sharp retort). And that was deliberate
(a loud laugh). But that is so because,
Clevon, that is a complex problem. If you
depreciate the currency it will become more
competitive, but the problem is that you
bring on an onslaught of inflation. So really,
it is taking a look at the demand-supply
OK. Coming to a sore point now...
I thought that was the sore point
Ok. This is a two-part question---The
Prime Minister called for a coming together
of citizens to see us through this problem-
atic period, are our leaders prepared to
make that kind of sacrifice? Secondly, do
you think the political polarisation of cit-
izens would have us achieve that goal?
(Referring once again to his speaking
notes) These are two good questions. All
of us must make sacrifices. I think Dr Row-
ley in his address said he was prepared to
take a salary cut himself, and the country
needs to move significantly beyond seven
per cent recognising that we need to be
competitive globally in many of our busi-
From an employee standpoint, we have
to move to a more productive-driven com-
pensation. If we do not, we will find our-
selves in difficulties.
Secondly, on the question of polarisation,
maturity is required from all our politi-
Are they capable of so doing?
Well, Clevon, there is a simple way of
dealing with that, you know. The popu-
lation has to deal with that in terms of
how we vote them in and vote them out
at election time, because my sense is that
the population is saying today they must
perform, operate with dignity, operate in
a principled manner, demonstrate and
deliver value or, "Thank you very much."
Chairman of the T&T
Stock Exchange, Peter
Clarke, second from left,
presents NGC chairman
Gerry Brooks with a
plaque to mark the
company's listing on
the local stock
market at the
Nicholas Towers in
Also in photo is
From Page A10
Brooks on T&T economy:
Seven per cent cut not enough
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