Chamber awardees: From left, Prakash Sookhai, Robby Ramlagan, Antonio Madoo, Jada Warrrick, on behalf of Bernadine Warrick, Rasheed Allaham, Ray Rajaram, at the Couva/Pt Lisas Chamber of Commerce awards function on November 24. –
PRESIDENT of the Couva Point Lisas Chamber Mukesh Ramsingh said his 2022 Christmas wish is for the government and the opposition to put aside their differences and work together fix the escalating crime situation in the country.
At his chamber’s Christmas dinner and awards function on Thursday night, Ramsingh said, “We have procrastinated enough.”
He made his plea before an audience which included Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, Planning and Development Minister Pennelope Beckles and Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh.
“One of the most serious issues facing this country of ours is crime. Despite the normal government and opposition behaviour in the Parliament, if they cannot agree on anything else, my Christmas wish is for them to come together to fix crime. Let us not use crime to get a story in the newspapers.”
He recalled some 15 years ago, when Liaquat Ali was the chamber president, recommendations were made to the police for a collaborative approach with the businesses to fighting crime which was then beginning to become worrisome.
Ali’s recommendations were ignored, Ramsingh said, until now when the situation has escalated.
“Things have gotten so bad, the police is now asking us to do what was recommended to them so long ago,” he said pointing out that the chamber recently refurbished two of their vehicles.
“They are now welcoming our assistance, now taking our advice. Going forward, we don’t want to wait 10 to 15 years to implement something that can be done now.
“We procrastinate too much in this country. This society is too reactive. We have to get a little more proactive when it comes to crime.”
Ramsingh said the chamber recently met with some “enthusiastic officers” for a discussion on a crime prevention initiative to be implemented from Christmas to Carnival 2023.
He offered the same advice to Gopee-Scoon and Beckles about delaying useful measures to make it easier to do business and grow the economy.
“These are truly some exciting times, coming out of the pandemic which is not officially over, but we are seeing some recovery in the economy.
“Coming out of the pandemic, we are relying on these two ministers (Gopee-Scoon and Beckles) to guide and assist us.”
He welcomed recent initiatives “to ease the stresses and red tape of doing business,” but said there is still a lot of work to be done.
Gopee-Scoon said Government supports businesses through a number of initiatives aimed at improving the ease of doing business.
She referred to the recent launch of a one-stop trade and business information portal, an online facility for searchable, accurate, comprehensive, and up-to-date information on trade and business procedures in TT.
The portal provides access to multiple tools and resources under three main categories: trade, business, and investment. It was launched in May, and acts as single access point on business and trade matters, including on trade in goods data, regulatory requirements for investment, and information on how to start a business in TT.”
The portal has had over 245,000 unique visits, she said since its launch six months ago.
Ramsigh said he was looking forward to continuous interaction and open communication lines to better represent the businesses and SME’s in the chamber.
He said the chamber continued to network with Guyana, Colombia, United States, India among other countries, as well as locally, to seize opportunities that can result in growth and development of TT’s economy.
Anthony Madoo received an award for excellence in academics, Prakash Sookhai for Sports, Rasheed Allaham for community service.
A humanitarian award was presented to Robby Ramlogam of Robby’s Engineering Services Ltd, to pharmacist Ray Rajaram for business, while the businesswoman of the year award went to Bernadine Warrick.
Gopee-Scoon said it was important to celebrate and promote the role of women in business.
She said her ministry provides support for women led businesses through the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) She Trades Platform which was launched in 2020.
This platform offers training and information sharing, engagement through e-commerce and an opportunity to network with the 500 local women and 41,000 international women already registered on the platform.