T&T facing corruption crisis says consultant

(Trinidad Guardian) Trans-parency International is expected to release its latest Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) next Wednesday and chartered civil and structural engineering consultant Dr Myron Chin is appealing to the Government to consider introducing anti-corruption legislation similar to the United Kingdom’s Bribery Act 2010. Chin believes T&T is facing a “crisis of corruption.”

Chin, a former head of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Department of Civil Engineering said he viewed the UK’s Bribery Act 2010, enacted last June, and believes the Government should look seriously at implementing similar legislation. “Trinidad and Tobago is facing a corruption crisis. Indeed, everyone I talk to, it is alleged that People’s Partnership Government is as corrupt as the last regime, that is a perception,” he said.

Chin said corruption has haunted many governments, yet there continues to be a delay in implementing appropriate legislation to deal with this scourge. “I believe that not only this Government, but previous governments have failed us miserably on the question of implementing our laws. If they could put measures in place to strengthen implementation it would go a long way in improving the construction industry and other spheres of activity in the country,” he said.

Chin, a former director of the National Emergency Management Agency lamented that the PP Government has failed in its promise to tackle corruption. “They came into power on this very basis that they will get rid of corruption. I believe that they are failing in their mandate and they need to do something.

The Prime Minister said they have two and half years to go, there is still time for them to make right, to show the people that they are serious about getting rid of corruption or minimising it,” he contended.

The UK Bribery Act criminalises not only the offer and acceptance of bribes, but the failure of commercial organisations to prevent bribery. Chin said, “Since we are talking about transparency and procurement legislation for the longest while, we can take a quantum leap by looking at the Bribery Act. When contacted for comment Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said, “I cannot comment on that. I am in a meeting.”

President of the T&T Transparency Institute (TTIT) Deryck Murray declined comment on Chin’s statement. He said he would prefer to wait until the index was released next week. However, he said, “We have been long advocating the need for the procurement legislation.

We welcome that it has been tabled by Parliament in the legislative review committee and we have been certainly advocating over the last few years that no new contracts are given on major projects (until) that legislation has been enacted.”

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