AUDIO: Interview on The Power Breakfast – 24 October 2018

power102fmAfra Raymond was interviewed Wednesday 24th October 2018 by Rhoda Bharath, Wendell Stephen and Richard Ragoobarsingh on the Power Breakfast Show on Power 102 FM. The discussion was about the financial stability and sustainability of the State Enterprises and Public Utilities and their usefulness in our times. Audio courtesy Power 102 FM.

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VIDEO: Interview on Business Edge – 21 October 2018

tv6_logoAfra Raymond is interviewed by Asha Javeed on the “Business Edge” show on TV6, along with Procurement Regulator Moonilal Lalchan, to look at Transparency within the Government’s proposed game-changer projects for transformation and a sustainable local economy in the recent 2019 Budget presentation. Video courtesy TV6.

Programme Date: 21 October 2018
Programme Length:  00:10:00 and 00:08:06

Does Size really Matter?

Does Size really Matter?

The anti-corruption discourse in our country usually rationalises the failure or refusal to prosecute any important persons for corrupt acts as being a result of our small size. After all, everyone has a friend who will see for them. Those friends will warn them, lie for them, forget for them or even lose a file or two for them. We have all had these frustrating discussions and wondered if we can ever muster the will or the wits to lock-up the important people who regularly commit acts of grand corruption.

corruptionWhen one considers the global news on this anti-corruption struggle, it is clear that in some substantial way the tide has turned. In a variety of countries, the citizens have become so outraged at the damage that large-scale corruption has done to their societies that the authorities there have now started to take decisive action against this scourge. It all makes me wonder when is the Caribbean going to catch-up with the rest of the world in punishing these destructive acts. Continue reading “Does Size really Matter?”

OPEN CONTRACTING? Part Two

…Doublethink is the ability to hold two completely contradictory beliefs at the same time and to believe they are both true…
—from George Orwell’s ‘1984’

…Rowley said the new “slang” was that his Government was one of secrecy. He said he fully agreed that the public had a right to know, but if one is conducting business, information develops in stages. He said the Government was hiding nothing about the Sandals deal…
—Reported speech of PM Dr. Keith Rowley from ‘Rowley: Petrotrin figures not the issue‘ in the Trinidad Express on 20th September 2018

The previous article, together with my presentation at the pre-budget seminar hosted by the Greater Tunapuna Chamber of Industry & Commerce on Monday 17th September 2018, sparked a series of responses. More information is clearly needed to clear up what I call ‘carefully crafted confusion‘. That phrase emerged during the Invaders’ Bay imbroglio while the Peoples Partnership was in office.

The official practice in our country is to withhold details of important public agreements and contracts. That is now the standard, in which if those are ever disclosed it is only when the contracts have been signed and sealed. Those opaque practices are not limited to the current PNM administration. Last week I closed with a list of examples which span both political parties.

This article explains how opacity in public contracts is inimical to the public good since it inhibits good procurement outcomes and deprives the public of necessary details at a high-tide mark in the Global Information Age. Sad to say, it all comes down to notions of trust, since the previous conduct of our rulers has been so poor that public trust is at an all-time low. Continue reading “OPEN CONTRACTING? Part Two”

Open Contracting?

Open Contracting?

Our country is now at a state of flux insofar as the next stages of our development, which is largely dependent on the relationships between our leaders and us as citizens. This is a serious moment in the development of our Republic, so this is forming a key part of my Season of Reflection.

Courtesy L. David RoperThe long oil/gas boom we enjoyed is drawing to a close, so we are now therefore forced to really deal with hard diversification questions to maintain the viability of our society.

We have never before had such an educated population. Our country has more persons with degrees and professional qualifications than ever before – doctors, engineers, lawyers, IT specialists, accountants and finance professionals, lawyers, surveyors and teachers. We therefore have a citizenry which is capable of playing a huge role in the inescapable task of turning the corner into a new series of options for our society.  Continue reading “Open Contracting?”

AUDIO – Interview with Ralph Maraj on La Brea Dry Dock project – 18 Sep 2018

ralph-maraj_20180918Afra Raymond is with Ralph Maraj on i95.5FM discussing the hot topic of the day: the La Brea Dry Dock project. They cover the Government to Government Agreement; the contractor hired, the China Harbour Engineering; and the new Public Procurement System. Audio courtesy i95.5 FM

Programme Date: Tuesday 18th September
Programme Length: 00:40:26

VIDEO: Greater Tunapuna Chamber of Industry and Commerce speech – 17 Sep 2018

gtcic-advertAfra was part of a distinguished panel of speakers at a pre-budget forum discussing the subject ‘Understanding Where We Are…Today – Trinidad and Tobago Economy”. This event was held by the Greater Tunapuna Chamber of Industry and Commerce. The secrecy of government-to-government or State projects are analysed with a conclusion that an educated population must be part of the diversity of views that become part of the modern national decision making process.

NOTE – Conrad Enill, Group CEO of Eastern Credit Union, did not appear at this meeting as billed. Mariano Browne, former Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Minister of Trade & Industry, spoke in that slot.

Programme Date: 17 September 2018
Programme Length: 00:15:00