Gabriel Faria will remain as Chief Executive Officer at the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce, after apologising last week for comments he made on a WhatsApp that were harshly criticised by the prime minister.
In a media statement yesterday, the chamber said the Board of Directors met with Faria to “discuss matters related to recent news and social media coverage”.
“As a result of the discussions, the board has determined that Faria will continue in his current position as CEO of the TT Chamber,” the release said.
Faria’s position came under question last Wednesday evening after Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley took to social media to assail Faria for the statement he (Faria) made on a private chat.
At the time that Rowley posted the scathing comments about Faria, it was unclear what the Prime Minister was referring to as Faria had not said anything in the public domain to elicit such a strong response from Dr Rowley.
In that post, Rowley described Faria as having an “acid tongue” and accused Faria of using his position to “influence voters with his dismissive shallowness” and of being critical of those who offered themselves for public office while not doing that himself. He also accused Faria of trying to “suck what he could from the country”.
On Thursday, Faria issued a public apology and it was only then that he revealed what he had said that offended the PM.
In a private WhatsApp conversation with approximately 130 businessmen, academics and journalists, Faria was critical of both political parties and said that their main goal was to continue to keep their parties in power and “continue to live (sic) high off the backs of honest taxpaying citizens. I am disgusted with the behaviour/disdain/apathy displaced (sic) by both parties”.
On Friday, Guardian Media reported that Faria had tendered his resignation but that was refuted by Chamber president Reyaz Ahamad.
In yesterday’s media release, the chamber said that Faria will “continue with his role” as CEO.
“The Board is of the view and Mr. Faria agrees, that he should always be mindful of his role and obligations as the Chief Executive Officer of the TT Chamber,” it said.
“Over the past three years Mr Faria has helped to build a strong and effective Chamber of Commerce, as a credible advocate for our members and the wider business community,” it said.
The chamber said that the board would also like to “reaffirm the role of the T&T Chamber, as an advocacy body committed to the highest standards of enterprise, to pursue a collaborative and constructive dialogue with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and the business sector,” it said.
The chamber described itself as the “voice of business” and said that the chamber would “continue to act as a champion of business and to advocate on behalf of the private sector”.