Father Clyde Harvey in an address to corporate customers of
First Citizens Bank on ethics at their level challenged the
Chamber to point out and go after those in the business community
engaged in the drug trade as part and parcel of setting some
example in actually living the standards of a life of quality.
It was a rather broad brush with which he sought to paint
such a challenge. As the Chamber has said time and time again,
business in the widest sense of the word includes
the towering giant transnational corporations as well as the
youth who stand at busy traffic intersections washing the
windshields of stationary motor vehicles.
While we readily admit that the modern-day church leaders
put the messages to their flocks in very dramatic, eye-catching
confrontational styles, the role of the Chamber is not that
of an inquisitor, as we have neither the expertise nor the
authority for criminal investigation.
However, the Chamber, in its 126th year of existence, is guided
in its day-to-day operations by its mission statement:To
be recognised by our members and the Government and people
of Trinidad and Tobago as the most vibrant, influential and
authoritative organisation in Trinidad and Tobago and the
leader in the support of globalisation as a means of wealth
Its leadership will do and procure to be done everything in
pursuit of the objectives in that statement which is lawful
and in support of the rule of law. We will not hesitate to
stand up for and do whatever is necessary for the good of
the country, its people and business, in particular.
Our president and board of directors have illustrated this
at every turn. Our views on government and any other social
stakeholders policies and legislation, both in public
and private, where more effective, have influenced the hearts
and minds of those with different agenda.
The service of many of our members on think tanks, task forces,
regulatory bodies and many other creatures of the public sector,
seeks to walk the talk and to preach the message of country
before self and that profit is not evil.
Our investment in the nations youth via the junior achievement
programme for school leavers, our nova committees jumpstart
programme of preparation for those entering the workplace,
the activities of our community improvement committee, support
of all non-governmental organisations and continuous training
and retraining of business people, continually provides the
lifeblood to building a better Trinidad and Tobago.
The Chamber is not about witch-hunting or vigilante activities
since, however laudable the objectives may be, the means to
the end will never justify the disturbance to civil society,
bad example and negativity which will adorn them, and whatever
temporary gains made in the short term.
Unlike the CEO of Wasa and the chief fire officer in relation
to the recent destruction of the downtown business communitys
property, the Chamber will accept the responsibility for leadership
of the private sector and addressing private sector issues
which impact on the countrys economy and well being.
The national budget, the opinions expressed to foreign investors,
to diplomats of one kind or another, similar business organisations
and all others who visit the Chamber, will be treated in a
manner which keenly discharges that responsibility.
The Chamber will also do whatever it can, for example, via
its media sector committee and those providers of goods and
services, to drive home to them Father Harveys and our
own concern with the gearing of media advertising which targets
impressionable minds with unrealistic, non-essential needs,
needs which quickly turn to greed and crime to satiate them.
We urge you to vigorously assist us and all who are committed
to the Principles of Fairness, to promote the acceptance and
observance of them, the Roman Catholic Archbishop being a
We are not asking him to shout or bring down fire and brimstone
on all who violate them and, thus, contradict their very spirit
Turning back to the subject of the illegal use of drugs, what
we can assure Father Harvey is that the Chamber will relentlessly
support any action or measures which seek to address this
We share his opinion that this evil spawns the same greed,
crime, instability, distortions in the economy and a downward
slide in the quality of life.
Should we be aware of anyone, not only in the business community,
but elsewhere who engages in, not only this illegal activity,
but any other lawlessness whatsoever, we shall, without hesitation,
immediately phone 800-TIPSCrime Stoppers, yet another
example of the Chambers successful efforts to take care
of its responsibilities to the society in which it dwells.