Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 12th 2013 Contents Senator Bharath, do you agree
that the missteps by government
functionaries have contributed to
the perception that the adminis-
tration is not performing as it ought
to?(Crossing his legs and left palm
cupping his chin) Well, clearly we
could have done without them, but
as I just said, it is always a question
of how you deal with them. Mistakes
will always be made, whether it is
this or any other administration, and
I think the Prime Minister has dealt
with them in a manner that has
inspired confidence in the popula-
I am not saying that we will make
no more mistakes: we would not be
humans if that was the case, and
the question is not to repeat those
Ok. Let s look briefly at your
major portfolio, trade and invest-
ments. The private sector is still
complaining about the lack of activ-
ities such as new investments and
so on. What is your biggest chal-
lenge in this regard?
I think we ve got to place that
statement you just made in the con-
text of the fact that the entire world
suffered a global recession. If one
looks at the latest casualty: Cyprus.
Greece is now in its sixth year of
While that may be so, we are still
in the fortunate position of having
an excellent foreign reserve figure,
(Anticipating the question). All of
our trading partners are suffering
from recession such as the United
States, Japan. Our Caricom neigh-
bours are in the throes of the IMF.
Jamaica is going back to the IMF for
the second time in three years.
Grenada is having difficulty to pay
So our partners are suffering from
this recession and therefore we are
facing the ripple effect of a lack of
trade with these countries.
What plans do you have to let s
say, kick-start the economy?
It comes back to the original ques-
tion you were asking about invest-
ments in T&T. Clevon, the biggest
problem we have had of course is
the fact we have had a significant
amount of bureaucracy that exists.
In the first week that I became
Minister of Trade, Industry and
Investment I met the private sector,
who said that they do not need any
further incentives. What they need
is for the red tape to be cut.
What kind of corrective measures
have been taken in this direction?
For the last ten months or so we
have been working on that to ensure
that we create the enabling envi-
ronment to allow that confidence to
return for investment.
I will give you just two examples.
First, when I came into office we
were told by the World Bank that
it took 43 days to set up a business
in T&T. In Singapore it is one day;
South Korea, three days.
So when investors looked at our
country in comparison with some
of our Asian counterparts they are
going to be reluctant to come to a
place like Trinidad if we do not fix
Clevon, we have now moved that
43-day period to three days and I
have enshrined it into legislation.
The other one we are working on
right now is Customs.
What s the bugbear down there?
Many people who do business
through our borders will know that
it takes an inordinate amount of time
to clear containers either in or out
of the country...an average of 90
days, and we are told by the WB it
takes about 19 days elsewhere.
We have taken steps (legislation
and regulations) to ensure that these
units are cleared within 24 hours, in
and out of T&T.
So we are moving expeditiously
with the private sector to ensure
they conduct their operations in a
very competitive environment inter-
nationally, to the benefit of their
enterprise and ultimately T&T.
Finally, Senator Bharath, your
name has popped up as a possible
UNC candidate for the Chaguanas
West seat left vacant with the res-
ignation of Jack Warner. What s
your take on that possibility?
Well, that is a very premature
matter as the seat has not yet been
But that discussion has not been
the party will make that decision
based on the screening process.
If you are asked to contest it?
isterial desk and I do have a very
aggressive and heavy agenda for the
next two years, and I think my
responsibilities with regard to those
really takes up all my energy at this
May 12, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Trade Vasant Bharath says we are facing the ripple effect of a lack of trade
with countries suffering from the recession.
From Page A10
...Red tape tying up trade
...the biggest problem
we have had of course
is the fact we have
had a significant
"In the first week that
I became Minister of
Trade, Industry and
Investment I met the
private sector, who
said that they do not
need any further
incentives. What they
need is for the red
tape to be cut.
Carmona, SC, speaks to a
cadet during the T&T Cadet
Force annual inspection
parade at Fatima College
Grounds, Mucurapo Road,
Looking on is acting
National Security Minister
Clifton De Coteau.
SEE PAGE A13
PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
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