Thursday 28th April 2005


Business must embrace ethics

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Recently, 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 creation.”

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 stakeholder’s 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 nation’s youth via the junior achievement programme for school leavers, our nova committee’s 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 community’s property, the Chamber will accept the responsibility for leadership of the private sector and addressing private sector issues which impact on the country’s 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 Harvey’s 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 signatory.

We are not asking him to shout or bring down fire and brimstone on all who violate them and, thus, contradict their very spirit and intent.

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 scourge.

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-TIPS—Crime Stoppers, yet another example of the Chamber’s successful efforts to take care of its responsibilities to the society in which it dwells.




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