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”

The Importance of Memory

The Importance of Memory

I am writing this article on Friday 13th October 2017, which is the first time T&T has had a national holiday to honour the memory of our First Peoples.

These holidays are important, not only in the literal sense of having a day-off, but also marking certain critical events so that the collective memory could be preserved. That process of intentionally preserving important memories is seminal to the development of a civilisation. This extends to our business and professional life, even being decisive for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Our official record is so often vacant, by design, that one can scarcely assess the real situation or reliably make projections as to the likely outcomes of proposals. The Public Sector is a huge part of the national business, so it is critical how that sector conducts itself and how its ‘lessons learned’ are recorded. Ours is a sorry story of the public sector conducting itself outside the bounds of the law and good sense, not to mention actively suppressing or distorting reality.
Continue reading “The Importance of Memory”