JCC Policy Initiatives: GOVERNMENT-TO-GOVERNMENT ARRANGEMENTS

Click here to read: The July 16th 2013 report on Local Content, Government to Government (G2G) arrangements and Public Procurement coming out of a breakfast meeting hosted by the Joint Consultative Council (JCC) and the Trinidad and Tobago Local Content Chamber (TTLCC)


Trinidad and Tobago entered a damaging period of 'Government to Government' arrangements during the 'Petro-dollar' boom of the 1970s. This critical shift in government policy was stated to have been a response to the frustration of dealing with the various 'bottlenecks' which slowed the delivery of goods and services to citizens. The conscious decision was taken, at the highest level, to bypass the existing public sector systems, as well as local contractors and suppliers, in favour of the promised benefits of the 'Government to Government' arrangements.

That experiment was a complete disaster with major detrimental results for our country and readers are invited to look at these-
  1. Click here to read: 13th October 1979, Trinidad & Tobago Review article by Winston Riley which highlighted many of the emerging issues before the full-blown crisis was on us.
  2. Click here to read: The Ballah Report published on 25th March 1982 was commissioned by the Chambers administration to examine the 'Government to Government' arrangements. That is a devastating report which led that administration to end many of the arrangements.
  3. Click here to read: Legal opinion from attorney Jacqueline Bowen on the social, econimical and legal impact of the importation of Asian immigrants to provide labour for the TT construction industry. 18 Dec 2006
  4. Click here to view: The imperative of public procurement: the government to government arrangements. 24 Apr 2012
  5. Click here to view: JCC President Afra Raymond addressed the POS Rotary Club at their luncheon on 'The Imperative of Public Procurement - The Government to Government Arrangements'. 24 Apr 2012

At this time, the JCC is very concerned that the Peoples Partnership government has embarked yet again on this discredited path of 'Government to Government' arrangements. It seems that we lack the capacity to learn from our experience, because once again, the conscious decision is being taken, at the highest level, to embark upon a fresh series of 'Government to Government' arrangements. The PM turned the sod on 2nd March 2012 for the US$150M Couva Children's Hospital and her address at that sod-turning ceremony was significant in relation to our concerns on the 'Government-to-Government' arrangements -

"...The Couva Children's Hospital initiative has been achieved using the guidance and technical expertise made available to us from the Government of the Republic of China. Today I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the government and people of the Republic of China and in particular to His Excellency the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China

"This is the first in a series of projects involving Government to Government collaboration which will yield tangible results that will benefit Trinidad and Tobago in a number of ways..."
As reported in the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian of 3rd March 2012-
"...The Prime Minister said the project would be funded by the Government of China and was one of several government to government projects taking place during her tenure..."
It is an integral part of the Couva Children's Hospital project that the Government of the Peoples Republic of China will nominate the contractor.

At a time of excess liquidity, our local financial institutions are being denied the opportunity to participate in national development in a manner which would redound to our long-term interests if precious foreign exchange were more carefully allocated.

Just consider these relevant recommendations of the Uff Report-
"...
  1. The Government's policy on the use of foreign contractors and consultants for public construction projects should be transparent and open to review.
  2. Local contractors and consultants who compete with foreign companies should be provided with the same or equivalent benefits as enjoyed by those foreign companies and should be protected from unfair competition through matters such as soft loans..."
Uff's recommendations call for a thorough review of the policy as to the use of foreign contractors and the 'levelling of the playing-field' to introduce a proper measure of equity in the process of national development.

In accordance with the 42nd and 43rd Uff recommendations listed above, the JCC is calling on the government to halt the present initiatives so as to have a broad-based consultation amongst stakeholders to establish a proper policy on 'Government-to-Government' arrangements, as well as the use of foreign contractors and consultants.

The JCC wrote to the PM on 24 April 2012 to detail our concerns on this and other pressing matters in the national interest. FOR MORE >>

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