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

Private State?

In Privacy Pros and Cons, I considered the Parliamentary debate around the recent SSA Amendment Bill. Most of that debate seemed to be concerned with the limits on the rights of citizens to privacy, but my concern was that there was precious little comfort being offered in terms of the secret conduct of our public affairs.

If we are to evolve to developed nation status it is essential that the State seriously reform its culture of obscurity and secrecy, that is the contention I am advancing here. Continue reading “Private State?”

Privacy Pros & Cons

The recent high-level of public concern over the SSA Amendment Bill was of limited concern to me, until I started listening properly. In the event, the proposed law was passed by the Parliament and there is some threat from the Opposition of a lawsuit to test its constitutionality. We will see.

Two very interesting stances surfaced during the heated debates and it is at these kind of moments that I sometimes think of our so-called political divide. Those were the Right to Privacy stance disclosed by the AG and the private briefing of Parliamentarians as a legislative tool.

Sen. Faris Al Rawi, Attorney General
Faris Al Rawi, Attorney General

The AG, Faris Al Rawi, was emphatic on 2nd May 2016 that we have ‘…no enshrined right to privacy under the law…‘. He was almost immediately contradicted by former CJ, Michael de la Bastide QC, who relied on Section 4 (c) of the Constitution which specifies ‘the right of the individual to respect for his private and family life’. In ‘The creep of Tyranny‘ on Monday 9th May 2016 in this newspaper, my colleague Michael Harris also made strong objections to the AG’s stance. Of course we have rights to privacy and those are entrenched in our Constitution, but now those rights can be limited by the new law, intended to promote national security. Continue reading “Privacy Pros & Cons”