“Trinidad and Tobago continues to become more corrupt under this PNM government because of its REFUSAL to fully implement the procurement legislation over the past 7 years.” says MP Tancoo.
The procurement and disposal of state property laws were designed to put in place regulations and procedures to remove the OPPORTUNITY for corruption in the award of government contracts.
Tancoo revealed that the 2022 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index CPI Report shows Trinidad and Tobago fell to 77th place out of 180 countries. In 2015, Trinidad and Tobago was ranked 72 on the Corruption Index.
According to Tancoo in the last 8 years, this government has been riddled with corruption scandals. There have been major scandals involving PNM government ministers, financiers and friends, from billion dollar judicial cases being withdrawn to million dollar payouts to keep people quiet, to millions being lost on ill-advised board decisions for which no one is held accountable. The result is that our international reputation has taken a hit as credit ratings suffer and our investor confidence plummets.
In 2020, at an Andean Development Bank (CAF) panel discussion on preventing corruption in the region, Minister of Finance Colm Imbert said “that the best way, then, to counter allegations of corruption is to provide better information to the public about procurement, about the decisions that government has taken”.
Yet this is the same government who refuses to implement the legislation.
MP Tancoo, who is the Opposition Shadow Minister of Finance declared “If you say it is critical to prevent corruption, and have the legislation at hand and refuse to implement it, then clearly you have a vested interest in facilitating the robbery of taxpayers. ”
Taxpayers lose a reported $5.2 billion through corruption in each year that the legislation is not implemented. That is over $40 billion in the last 8 years which could have funded surgeries for men, women and children waiting years for heart and other critical surgeries, assisted children whose parents have financial difficulty paying for transport or to buy school uniforms. Those billions could have been spent to incubate and grow businesses to build our economy.
Instead of massive corruption, we could have had a vibrant agricultural sector providing food security at affordable prices for our country. Tancoo stated “Stop encouraging corruption Mr. Imbert and Dr. Rowley. Fully implement the procurement legislation immediately!”.