The Parliament Chamber, Red House, Port of Spain.

Local transparency body—Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI)—is urging the Rowley Administration to ensure that this time around, there will be a full proclamation of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act.

In an official statement issued today, TTTI observes there are several critical pieces of legislation to protect the public purse and provide oversight on governance issues, which are still outstanding.

Among the “outstanding matters” the TTTI lists are: full proclamation of the Public Procurement law; passage of effective “whistle-blower” legislation; and implementing campaign finance laws.

The transparency body says priority must be given to the full proclamation of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act.

“The Office of the Procurement Regulator is already successfully established, and the vast majority of state agencies are ready to operate under the new legislation. The Government must move swiftly to operationalise this long outstanding Act,” the TTTI urges.

“Modern public procurement legislation is a fundamental requirement if our country is to promote good governance and eradicate corruption,” the TTTI release stated. “A fully operational Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act will be a useful asset towards ensuring accountability in expenditure, building trust and confidence at all levels of society, and encourage investment from local and foreign sources. All of these benefits are now more crucial than ever to maximise due to the economic and social challenges arising from the current Covid-19 pandemic.”

The TTTI is hoping that whistleblower legislation is finally passed.

“The Bill did not receive the full support of the House of Representatives when it was laid before Parliament in 2019. We call for the reintroduction of the Bill to Parliament and for both Houses to expedite the passage of this long outstanding piece of legislation,” the transparency group said.

“Another critical matter is Campaign Finance Legislation,” said TTTI.

The transparency body notes that getting this going may mean starting from scratch.

“The Representation of the People (Amendment) Act was placed before a Joint Select Committee months before the General Election. The proroguing of Parliament, however, means this process must be started anew. TTTI calls for the Government to move with haste and implement Campaign Finance Legislation before the next Local Government Elections.”

The TTTI expressed hope that these critical legislative matters would receive priority and attention from the new Parliament.