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AMCHAM delivers Budget wish list
As government gets ready to present the 2017/2018 National Budget, the American Chamber of T&T (AMCHAMTT) has submitted a list containing 68 recommendations to Finance Minister Colm Imbert for consideration.
Among the broad areas highlighted by the Chamber were debt management, energy sector policy, diversification, national security, ease of doing business and digital transformation.
Appealing for a collaborative approach regarding the development and transformation of T&T, AMCHAM said the list reflected the desires of their 300 members which is comprised of 75 per cent nationals and 25 per cent multinationals.
Advocating for the prudent management of the country’s affairs, AMCHAM said the growing debt burden and resultant expenditure curtailment in light of revenue challenges, was expected.
However, they believe the areas listed above currently present the core challenges confronting the country at this time.
Heading the list under National Security was the appointment of a Police Commissioner followed by a number of proposals on how to improve the T&T Police Service.
Other areas include improving the human resource management system; implementing an effective performance appraisal system; improving the use of technology; continuous education and training for all staff; and reviewing recruitment processes and policies.
Focusing on those persons who are incarcerated, AMCHAM TT suggested reviewing the arrangements for prisoners requiring medical attention at the nation's hospitals; providing an update on the electronic monitoring of offenders; establishing a DNA database; and expanding youth development.
Calling for a strengthening of the Professional Standards Bureau, Fraud Squad, Financial Intelligence Bureau; and Cyber Crime Unit, AMCHAM TT also appealed for the challenges at the Forensics Science Centre to be addressed as they underscored the importance of inter-agency collaboration.
Regarding the victims of crime, they stressed the need for adequate support mechanisms for both victims and officers, as well as the urgent need to address challenges within the DPP’s Office and the Judiciary; whilst implementing recommendations for prison reform and ensuring there was legislation pertinent to the fight against crime.
Justifying their recommendations, AMCHAM TT said while socio-cultural and crime impacts the international reputation of T&T - the effects of crime was evident in the society.
They said, "Crime will and has detracted from other initiatives to promote investment and has added both directly and indirectly to the cost of doing business."
"In all its forms, crime continues to plague our society and is cited as one of the most significant problems that organizations experience when doing business in this country."
Commending government on the updates to the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act along with the launch of the online vehicle registry at the Licensing Department and the reintroduction of the Cyber Crime Bill in Parliament, AMCHAMM TT said while there was still a long way to go in the fight against crime, the recommendations were a start as national security could not be overlooked.