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American Chamber of Commerce director Ravi Suryadevara.

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While the members of the Private Sector Civil Society Group (PSCSG) have acknowledged there is corruption in the sector, they noted that not everyone is corrupt and have condemned the deviant behaviour of a few deviant ones who engage in corrupt activities.

The group also called on the Government to operationalise the Procurement Act (2015) to deal with instances of corruption.

The call came a day after Finance Minister Colm Imbert said while there was a perception of corruption in the public sector, private sector officials also engaged in a fair amount of offering bribes for services.

Speaking at an event hosted at the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce on Wednesday, director of the American Chamber of Commerce of T&T (Amcham) Ravi Suryadevara said the way to stamp out such acts was through the law.

“This is an issue that needs to be tackled and I think the minister, in his point, is making our claim why the act needs to be operationalised. We need to have a consequence for aberrant behaviour that we have agreed is unacceptable,” Suryadevara said.

Suryadevara reiterated that only a few citizens commit bad acts, adding that the entire citizenry was not bad.

“And in like manner, the same with the private sector in T&T, which by and large I believe, performs its judiciary requirements, follows the law and tries to provide beneficial employment,” he said.

Nonetheless, Suryadevara argued that the private sector as individuals, cannot make changes in the system, saying such changes have to be legislated.

“This is not incentivising the private sector for proper behaviour. This is us standing up to account for those within our midst who may be doing the wrong things,” he said.

During discussions yesterday, the PSCSG, comprising the Joint Consultative Council, Amcham, T&T Chamber, T&T Transparency Institute, T&T Local Content Chamber and the T&T Coalition of Services Industries, also said that the new amendments to the Public Procurement Act will destroy the efficacy of the original bill.

The members said the consequences of the amendment will result in less transparency and accountability, which will not be beneficial to T&T.