Property Matters – the Benefit of the Doubt for Tobago Sandals?

Property Matters – the Benefit of the Doubt for Tobago Sandals?

In which a Flying Pig births a White Elephant…

If that phrasing sounds over-imaginative and gross, just consider these proposals for Tobago Sandals…

The previous article stated the bare facts about this large-scale development and placed those for consideration.  The response, online and elsewhere, was such that I am now going to set out the main arguments being used by the promoters of this project and place those for consideration.

What is ultimately at stake here is the right of our Public Officials to negotiate these large-scale projects, in secret and on our behalf.  The promoters of this project are claiming that intangible but substantial element, the Benefit of the Doubt.  This article will examine the merit of those claims for the Benefit of the DoubtContinue reading “Property Matters – the Benefit of the Doubt for Tobago Sandals?”

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VIDEO: Bussin’ Files 3: Our Season of Reflection in this Information War

VIDEO: Bussin’ Files 3: Our Season of Reflection in this Information War

“Our Season of Reflection in this Information War” is the theme of this episode of the continuing conversations and revelations on the Trinidad and Tobago society. Topics exposed include Open Contract, Tobago Sandals, CLF Bailout, media responsibility, the power of information and data. Video courtesy PixelPlay Media

  • Programme Date: 25 September 2018
  • Programme length: 01:04:07

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

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?”

VIDEO: World Press Freedom Day Mid-Day lecture

gpa-wpfd-posterAfra Raymond was the guest speaker of the Guyana Press Association at its Mid-Day Lecture on Thursday 3 May 2018, at Moray House in Georgetown, Guyana on World Press Freedom Day. He spoke on the theme, “Keeping Power in Check: Media Justice and the Rule of Law.” Video courtesy Guyana Press Association.

Programme Date: 3 May 2018
Programme length: 00:40:00 and 00:19:53

VIDEO: Webinar featuring Caribbean Economist Marla Dukharan and leading Trinidadian Transparency Activist Afra Raymond

VIDEO: Webinar featuring Caribbean Economist Marla Dukharan and leading Trinidadian Transparency Activist Afra Raymond

This is the video for the recent webinar in which we discuss the recently-released Corruption Perception Index:

  • The current state of corruption in Trinidad & Tobago
  • From accountability to enforcement: What is missing?
  • Specific steps that need to be taken to improve transparency

Programme Date: 6 March 2018
Programme length: 57:12