Media release - July 1st, 2022
Parent companies now at greater legal risk for their subsidiary companies
Corporations are now more likely to be successfully sued for the actions of their subsidiaries.
This was the grim news delivered by Suzanne Ffolkes-Goldson, attorney and senior lecturer at the University of the West Indies law faculty at the Mona campus in Jamaica.
Speaking on the topic “Parent and Subsidiary Boards and Legislations” at Governance Week 2022, an annual event hosted by the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute (CCGI), Ffolkes-Goldson said, “The actions of a subsidiary can impact the parent company, even if things are done to ensure they are separate.” The theme for Governance Week is “Developing the Conscience of the Board” sponsored by First Citizens Bank, Republic Bank, Angostura, PwC and JMMB Group Ltd.
Folkes-Goldson told participants that, save in matters of fraud, the courts have typically upheld the “corporate veil” between parent companies and their subsidiaries. “Each company is a separate legal entity and the corporate veil is a sacrosanct legal principle,” she explained. However, this was now changing, Ffolkes-Goldson warned, with the courts now taking into consideration other factors, such as human rights violations, environmental impact, and even lack of corporate transparency.
On this last, Ffolkes-Goldson cited the example of a Unilever shareholder who is suing the corporation over a decision taken by its former subsidiary, the ice cream company Ben and Jerrys, which had decided to stop selling its products in Israeli-occupied territories in Palestine. “This was an independent decision that generated quite a bit of backlash,” said Ffolkes-Goldson. In response, Unilever sold Ben and Jerrys, but this did not stop the lawsuit going forward.
Grounds on which the courts could find the parent company liable for the acts of its subsidiary included proximity (interlocking or shadow directors), similar codes of conduct, group-wide policies, claims to exercise control over subsidiaries (whether the parent company does so or not), and failure to predict probable risk.
Admitting there were no easy solutions, Ffolkes-Goldson recommended that corporations pay more attention to subsidiary governance. “You have to put in place a framework that you plan to use as a legal defence,” she said.
She listed several measures that corporations can use to create such a framework, such as:
The difficulty, Ffolkes-Goldson admitted, was that these same measures could be used in court to prove closeness, and therefore liability, between the parent company and the subsidiary in the event of a lawsuit. “It’s a case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” she said.
From the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute
Contact CEO Kamla Rampersad de Silva at 3868-221-8707
Or email: email@example.com
Culture of secrecy may undermine Caribbean firms
Caribbean companies have a culture of secrecy that will harm their financial prospects in the present business climate.
This was the view of business consultant Dr Rollin Bertrand, who moderated a panel discussion titled “The Importance of transparency and disclosure” on Day Five of Governance Week 2022. This is an annual event hosted by the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute (CCGI). The panellists were Judith Chung, Group Chief Compliance Officer and Senior Legal Counsel at
GraceKennedy; Dave L Garcia, who heads the Legal and Corporate
Services Division of the NCB Financial Group Limited; and Dr Ron Sookram, Academic Director at the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business.
The theme for Governance Week is “Developing the Conscience of the Board” sponsored by First Citizens Bank, Republic Bank, Angostura, PwC and JMMB Group Ltd.
Chung noted that investors were now looking at values and corporate governance as factors when deciding where to put their money. “This will increase trust and confidence in the market,” she asserted.
Sookram focused on the non-financial aspects of compliance, saying that most Caribbean companies were at the “embryonic stage” in this regard. “We need to get more Trinidad and Tobago companies to make their ESG (environmental, social, governance) criteria more measurable,” he said, “rather than just storytelling. Statements need to be substantiated with evidence.”
Garcia argued that character should be companies’ first concern. “We must ensure we have the right character before we have the right reputation,” he said. Noting that transparency was defined by truth, accuracy, accessibility and timeliness, he suggested that “If we are leading with disclosures, we can provide context and the facts.” This, he added, was more advantageous than responding to a leak.
Chung said that “Transparency and disclosure are very important parts of good corporate governance.” She argued that this was only possible to achieve with the right company culture. “It starts with building a culture of transparency,” she said. “But a culture is not easy to change and it starts from the top with the board of directors. So the most critical thing is to have people who are aligned with those values.”
Contact CEO Kamla Rampersad de Silva at 868-221-8707
Media release 30/06/22
Politicians want the Integrity Commission to fail
This country’s Members of Parliament created the Integrity Commission so it would fail.
This was the decided view of economist and former Deputy Central Bank governor Terrence Farrell. “The Commission had been dogged by controversy from the very start,” he pointed out. “When that legislation was proclaimed, I wrote then that it was going to fail. I am not sure that our legislators had any good intent.”
Farrell was taking part in a discussion at Governance Week 2022, following a presentation by former Integrity Commission chairman Ken Gordon. Gordon had given a presentation titled “Recommendations to Improve the Integrity in Public Life Act” on the third day of the annual online event, which is hosted by the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute (CCGI).
Politicians had bad intent
“Every single MP voted for the legislation,” said Farrell. “but they set it up in a way that it was guaranteed to fail.”
Gordon disagreed, saying, “I don’t think it was destined to fail, but I don’t think they thought it through.”
Farrell, however, argued that the MPs’ bad intent was shown by them undermining the Commission and any other watchdog body. “They create the Financial Intelligence Unit and where do they put it? In the Ministry of Finance,” he said. “Yet this is a body that investigates matters related to finance!”
Integrity Act needs to be changed
Farrell also noted that the Integrity in Public Life (Amendment) Bill 2014, prepared by the Gordon-led Commission, highlighted what was missing from the 2005 Act.
In his presentation, Gordon listed some of the amendments to the Act that had been submitted to Cabinet. These included means for enforcing the provisions of Section 5 (27/5) and Section 34 of the Act which give the Commission the power to:
Also recommended were whistle-blower provisions and arrangements for exchanging information between the Board of Inland Revenue, the Police Service, Customs, Immigration, and the FIU.
Farrell agreed with Gordon that the requirement for all members of public bodies to declare their assets to the Integrity Commission was counter-productive. “It’s a waste of time,” he said. “People refuse to declare and nothing has happened. The Cabinet has ignored the recommendations because it doesn’t want a strong, independent Integrity Commission with strong investigative powers.”
Our sponsors for Governance Week 2022:First Citizens Bank Our Gold Sponsor, Republic Bank Limited, our silver sponsor and three bronze sponsors JMMB Group Ltd, PwC and Angostura Limited.
Media release 29/06/22
Former Integrity Commission chairman calls on President Paula Mae Weekes to review Commission’s board members
Former chairman of the Integrity Commission, Ken Gordon, says that an effective Integrity Commission is not only good for our country, but it is necessary. He added that there must be the authority for effective implementation as without it the Integrity in Public Life Act (IPLA) is little more than a recitation of good intent and an exercise in futility.
He called on President Paula Mae Weekes to decide whether the present members of the Commission are fit to serve saying that she should be fully briefed on the issues surrounding the resignation of former deputy chairman retired High Court judge Sebastian Ventour.
Gordon made this call in a presentation titled “Recommendations to Improve the Integrity in Public Life Act”. He was speaking at Governance Week 2022, an annual event hosted virtually by the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute (CCGI). The theme of Governance Week is “Developing the Conscience of the Board”.
Referring to the 2015 resignation of Justice Ventour, over the “Emailgate” issue, Gordon said that Ventour had “acted in accordance with the highest traditions of principled behaviour.” Ventour had resigned over a statement issued, despite his objections, by the Commission stating that there was insufficient evidence to continue the investigation.
In 2013, the IC began investigating allegations made by then-Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, who in Parliament read out printouts of emails purporting to be from key Government ministers engaged in various conspiracies.
“Did members of the Commission acting in spite of the caution given to them by the Deputy Chairman misbehave in office in accordance with Section 8 (2) (e) of the Act?” Gordon asked. “Should their appointments have been terminated by the President?” He further questioned whether the President genuinely failed to understand the importance of having this matter investigated.
“These are highly sensitive issues which require integrity and courage if decisions are to be respected,” he said. “Qualities which appear to have been sadly missing from the Commissioners in these circumstances. But issues of such importance can no longer be swept under the carpet. Not if we are serious about transformational change and transparency.”
Gordon made seven recommendations to improve the IC. These included President Weekes reviewing the circumstances that led to Ventour’s resignation; a cost-benefit analysis of the requirement that persons serving on public boards declare their assets; that the Opposition Leader be included among persons choosing the IC chairman; and that Prime Minister Keith Rowley refrain from “public humiliation” of the Commission.
Gordon also noted that eight recommendations proposed in the Integrity in Public Life (Amendment) Bill 2014 under his tenure had been sent to the Office of the Attorney General to submit to Cabinet.
“To the best of my knowledge, a response is still awaited after eight years,” he said.
He noted that the Commission today continues to address the mounting problems of its task with yesterday’s tools and that counterparts in New South Wales, Singapore and Hong Kong had fixed similar issues with excellent results.
He called for the inclusion of a provision imposing a duty on persons exercising public functions and to report any act in which he/she suspects any concern or corrupt conduct; and for arrangements be put in place in order to facilitate the exchange of information between the Board of Inland Revenue, the Police Service, Customs, Immigration and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). This to avoid duplication, enhance investigation and cooperation, and facilitate handling of investigations.
Major Local Companies Sponsor Governance Week 2021
Three major local companies have pledged their support to improving corporate governance in T&T and the Caribbean with their sponsorship of Governance Week, hosted by the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute (CCGI).
Gold sponsor Republic Bank and Bronze sponsors Angostura and PwC will all be participating in the CCGI’s signature annual event, which will bring together over 50 professionals from the Caribbean region to discuss evolving governance practices during the week of online activities from June 27th-July 2nd.
Explaining why Republic Bank decided to become a sponsor of this year’s online event, Kimberly Erriah-Ali Group General Counsel/ Corporate Secretary, Republic Financial Holdings Limited said, “As an institution, Republic Financial Holdings Limited is committed to strong governance standards, and to the constant improvement of these within the larger framework of Environment Social and Governance. Strong governance is a pillar of resilience and stability, which entities must demonstrate now more than ever. With respect to Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean governance facilitates the transparency needed to build and bolster trust in institutions, across all sectors, and upon which we as a people rely.”
Globally recognized authority on corporate governance, Professor Mervyn King from South Africa, will deliver the keynote address at the opening ceremony. King is a former Supreme Court Judge and chaired the private sector body that developed a national code of governance, known as the King Code on Corporate Governance.
Each day of the conference will be opened by a distinguished Caribbean speaker. Jamaican attorney-at-law Camille Facey will kick off Day 1; Barbadian PwC senior adviser Ronaele Dathorne Bayrd on day 2; former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Terrence Farrell on Day 3, Chairman of Belize’s RF&G Life Insurance Company Elizabeth Cox on Day 5 and the UK’s Professor Bob Garratt opening Day 5.
Governance Week was launched last year and is the signature event of the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute. The theme of this year’s event is: “Governance Beyond Covid - Following the North Star:
Resetting values to create value in organizations.”
Explaining why this theme was chosen theme of the conference, CCGI Chief Executive Officer Kamla Rampersad de Silva said: “the disruption caused by the pandemic has created great uncertainty for boards with major changes occurring including the State of Emergency in Trinidad and Tobago, and closure of non-essential businesses. The theme for this year’s governance week is focused on helping directors in the boardroom to focus on long term goals, to look beyond the uncertainty of the present situation. We have over 50 professionals who will be sharing on their experiences to help navigate the challenges faced and provide guidance on how to reset the values that create long term success.”
She also noted that it was a great honor to host one of the leading global professionals in the world to speak to participants and expressed appreciation to all the sponsors for making the 2nd annual Governance Week possible.
The Opening Ceremony will be followed by five days of conference. The structure comprises an opening speaker each day followed by three 90-minute panel discussions.
Each day of the conference will focus on a different sector:
Day 1 – June 28th - Corporate Secretaries Forum
Day 2 – June 29th - Governance of the Private Sector
Day 3 – June 30th - Governance of the Public Sector
Day 4 – July 1st - Governance SMEs and Family-owned businesses
Day 5 – July 2nd - Governance of Groups and Conglomerates
Globally recognized authority on corporate governance, Professor Mervyn King from South Africa, will deliver the keynote address at the Opening Ceremony of Governance Week, hosted by the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute (CCGI).
Governance Week was launched last year and is the now the CCGI’s signature calendar event. The theme of this year’s event is: “Governance Beyond Covid - Following the North Star: Resetting values to create value in organizations.”
The Opening Ceremony on June 28th will be followed by five days of conference. The structure comprises an opening speaker each day followed by three panel discussions each lasting 90 minutes. Each day of the conference will focus on a different sector and be opened by a distinguished speaker.
Jamaican attorney-at-law Camille Facey will kick off Day 1. She is the Managing Partner of the law firm FACEYLAW, sits on the Board of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, chairs the Building Practitioners Board, and delivers corporate law and governance training for the Jamaica Stock Exchange
Barbadian PwC Senior Adviser Ronaele Dathorne Bayrd will lead Day 2. She leads the PwC Corporate Services practice in the Caribbean region. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Governance Institute of Canada and has extensive experience in the examination and implementation of international corporate governance best practice. She has led teams involved in board assessments and board training for companies based in Barbados, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago and the Cayman Islands.
Economist and former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago Dr. Terrence Farrell will lead Day 3. With a Ph.D. in Economics, a license to practice law and certified as a mediator, Dr. Farrell is also a published author, has sat on a number of State and private sector boards in T&T, Jamaica, St Lucia and the UK, and is currently a director of Republic Bank, Tatil Life and several private companies.
Chairman of Belize’s RF&G Life Insurance Company Elizabeth Cox will kick off Day 4. She is also the CEO and principal consultant of Casper Investments Inc in Guyana.
The UK’s Professor Bob Garratt will lead off Day 5. He is a company chairman, consultant, and academic working on corporate governance, board and director performance, and strategic thinking issues. He is the author of The Fish Rots From The Head: Developing Effective Boards; Thin On Top: Why Corporate Governance Matters; Developing Strategic Thought (ed); and The Learning Organisation: Developing Democracy At Work. He is also a Founder Member of The Commonwealth Association for Corporate Governance, sits on the Chartered Accreditation Committee of the UK Examinations Board, and leads the Developing Strategic Thought programme of the Institute of Directors, London.
Each day of the conference will focus on a different sector as follows:
CEO of CCGI Kamla Rampersad de Silva, noted that it was a great honor to host one of the leading global professionals in the world to open Governance Week. She also expressed appreciation to the sponsors of the event: Gold Sponsor Republic Bank and Bronze Sponsors: Angostura Holdings Ltd and PwC for their support and belief in the CCGI.
Oct 22, 2020: With the double whammy of oil prices and Covid-19, this country cannot afford the ongoing corruption in public office.
This was one of the key points made last week at an online panel discussion on ‘The Challenges in Mandating Integrity and Accountability for those Holding Public Office,’ organised by the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute (CCGI).
Speakers on the panel were: Dr Terrence Farrell, Consultant and former Deputy Central Bank Governor; Professor Gerry Brooks - Chairman, Unit Trust Corporation (Trinidad) and Lara Quentrall-Thomas - Director, Office of the Procurement Regulation and Chairman, Regency Recruitment and Resources Ltd.
Professor Brooks said the country could not tolerate more racket and corruption for both financial and a socioeconomic reasons. He warned: “As we seek to develop a new society, there is an underbelly of discontent. There is a socioeconomic nerve where people are suffering and where we absolutely have to do the right thing and if we have hordes of people who are doing the wrong thing, that will create a host of socioeconomic problems.”
Noting that despite considerable resources being spent on various institutions, including the police, the courts and the Integrity Commission - corruption was continuing, he said: “We have to take a step back and ask why are these institutions not working…What are the road blocks?”
Brooks urged re-engineering of the judicial and legal justice systems and spoke of the need to ensure that the $1 billion allocation to the Ministry of National Security be used more efficiently and effectively across all agencies, including the Police, Forensic Department, the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Anti-Money Laundering Unit.
He also highlighted the need for public sector reform, questioning how public officials could be expected to effectively run a Ministry and build competence, capacity and organisational capability if they had no control over recruitment, promotions or transfers? He added: “We have to have the courage to say, in this post-Covid era, do we need a CPO?”
Quentrall-Thomas pointed to the situation where, during the lockdown, the majority of the public service were sent to work from home but “the majority did no work, but still took home full salaries,” while hundreds of thousands of people in the rest of society were suffering. “That is absolutely outrageous,” she said. “It cannot be allowed to stand in a time when the country is truly suffering.” She called for this issue to be the focus of immediate accountability, disciplinary protocols and performance management.
To improve the Public Service, she added, “We have to do a much better job of screening and recruitment,” including the use of lie detector tests, to determine the ethical and customer service orientation of persons before they set foot in our buildings, ministries, or Boards.
Farrell was scathing about the ineffectiveness of the Integrity in Public Life Act, describing it as “a bad piece of legislation.” The declarations of people’s assets and liabilities are “a complete waste of time,” he said. “They do nothing to advance what the Integrity Commission ought to be doing, which is investigate and prosecute for corruption…All it does is harass people,” he said.
He was also critical of the Financial Intelligence Unit of T&T Act, noting that under it, the FIU had no powers of investigation and handed over all Suspicious Activity Reports (SARS) to the police who themselves were not equipped to investigate these types of sophisticated, white collar crimes.
Farrell said, “When we adopt legislation, we tend to go for the weakest model possible, and the results we are getting reflects that - zilch!” He highlighted the example of the Commission of Enquiry into CLICO/CL Financial, which ended with a comprehensive report handed to the Prime Minister, who handed it to the DPP, and “we have heard nothing about it since and we spent millions of dollars as a country on that.”
In their final statements, the OPR director said the most urgent issue was the Procurement legislation and she called for full proclamation of the Act. She noted that the Board of the OPR has been putting in place all the systems, infrastructure, guidelines, handbooks, and a significant amount of training of officers In anticipation of full proclamation.
Brooks said ,“the society was at a very, very critical point …the feeling on the ground is that things are hard…we have to address this..it requires enlightened leadership and the determination to change and It also requires an enlightened citizenry to start making demands to force this change.”
Farrell said, “I keep saying to people, when we see things a particular way, it is because somebody wants it that way…It is in someone’s interest to have it that way….When we put weak legislation in place. When we set up the Integrity Commission and do not give it power to investigate and prosecute, we do it deliberately.…somebody wants it that way.”
With respect to the Police Service, he noted, “I think our Commissioner of Police is now finding out what he really has to manage. I don’t think the COP knew and understood the extent to which the Service he was now in charge of, was so corrupt. He didn’t know. He now knows.”
He concluded, “We need somebody, a leader, has to step forward and say ‘no more’. And it has to be somebody like the Prime Minister. It has to be led from that level and come down the line.”
What could be done to eliminate corruption in all its forms? Farrell summed up the solution as: Prevent. Pursue. Prosecute. Punish!
The CCGI has made the complete recording of this invaluable panel discussion available to the general public on its website: www.caribbeangovernance.org.
The Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute (“the Institute”) is a membership organisation headquartered in Trinidad & Tobago dedicated to advancing principles of corporate governance across the Caribbean for corporate governance professionals.
For more information please contact CEO Kamla Rampersad de Silva at 221-8707 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Sunday October 25, 2020
July 30, 2020: Chief Executive Officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce, Gabriel Faria lamented the lack of collaboration among government, the private sector and trade unions to confront the social and economic challenges brought on by Covid-19.
Speaking at a virtual Governance Week 2020 on Monday, Faria said he hoped for a resumption of tripartite engagement with whichever political party won the general elections, expected this year. The conference was organized by the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute (CCGI) and comprised participants from Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.
“In Trinidad, we don’t have that level of maturity at the government level, so it creates a disharmony and I think that is part of the challenge we have as a country. I hope elections are soon and I hope after the elections, the government in power, whichever one that is, will be more receptive to working in true collaboration,” he said while speaking on the challenges facing the private sector during Covid-19.
Executive Director of the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA), Carmel Hayne said Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley engaged with the private sector and trade unions in a social partnership throughout every stage leading up to the partial closing of the economy.
“We came together, and we discussed whether or not we are going to close our borders. The collective decision was no, Barbados will not close our borders….and therefore, the government adhered to our collective decision in that regard,” she said.
Based on the government’s request, the private sector and trade unions also made submissions on what Barbados’ priorities should be over the next 12-18 months.
General Secretary of the National Trade Union Centre (NATUC), Michael Annisette lamented that the tripartite approach involving government, the private sector and trade unions was not adopted to deal with challenges facing Trinidad and Tobago.
“What we had was actually a dictation of you do this, you do that without any involvement of the social partners so there would have been an appreciation of the concerns from a perspective of labor and the business community, “ said Annisette, also the President of the Seamen and Waterfront Workers Trade Union
He added, “So the decisions would have been reflective of the realities that we are facing because both the private sector and trade unions have constituencies which are so critical to the economy and when you exclude those partners in that decision-making process and leaving only for the government to make then, well then that is a prescription for confusion and the fall out that you continue to see in Trinidad and Tobago.”
Faria said many businesses were suffering and several others were sending home workers and shutting their doors.
“The reality is today businesses don’t even have the money to pay their rent, they don’t have the money to pay salaries and businesses are closing, are falling because we don’t have a true collaboration as to how we overcome the current dynamics and it is unfortunate, “ he asserted.
Faies said he has been advocating for five-year old VAT refunds which are critically needed by businesses.
“Those things are impacting aggregate demand, they are impacting confidence, they’re impacting the consumer. All I hope is after elections there will be a fresh engagement and we will move forward positively.”
For further information, please contact:
Kamla Rampersad de Silva,
Chief Executive Officer,
The Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute
Phone: +1 868 221 8707
June 6th 2020: Former Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine expects energy companies operating in T&T to report historic levels of losses for 2020 and 2021 but sees the situation normalising in 2023.
Ramnarine, now an Energy Consultant, was the feature speaker last Thursday (June 4th) at a weekly Corporate Governance Zoom seminar hosted by the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute (CCGI) addressing governance challenges in the energy sector. The audience included leaders in the banking, energy, manufacturing and services sectors.
Noting that the International Monetary Fund has forecast negative growth of 4.5% for T&T in 2020, Ramnarine said: “That seems conservative.” He also sees 2021 being the same as or worse than 2020 as local energy companies carry forward losses as deferred tax assets. This will have consequences for tax revenue in 2021. He also added that “Government may not collect any Supplemental Petroleum Tax from March 2020 into 2021” as oil prices should generally remain under US$50 per barrel and Supplemental Petroleum Tax is only payable if prices are above US$50 per barrel.
In addition, with T&T’s methanol and ammonia plants now among the highest cost producers in the world, they were among the first to shut down and, as prices go back up, they will be the last to start back, Ramnarine predicted. He also noted that the cost to produce a tonne of methanol in Trinidad and Tobago was around US$175 per tonne which made most methanol production at Point Lisas uneconomic in the current price environment. He added that currently 35 per cent of the plants at Point Lisas were either closed or idled.
He identified the challenges that government will have to eventually confront as including the future role of the National Gas Company, whose customers are disappearing one by one; the fiscal regime for exploration and production operators; and addressing the relationship between the NGC, T&TEC and TGU.
Speaking just one day prior to World Environment Day, Ramnarine cautioned that one critical issue the country must address at some point was energy efficiency and energy conservation. He noted that 15% of residences in T&T accounted for the majority of residential demand for electricity.
Despite the gloomy outlook he sees in the short to medium term, Ramnarine said: “I am an eternal optimist when it comes to Trinidad and Tobago.” We will survive this, he said. We’ve done it before in the 1980s after which we went on to 15 consecutive years of economic growth from 1993 to 2008, he noted.
Ramnarine sees enormous opportunities for Trinidad and Tobago in Suriname and Guyana, which do not have a deep water harbours and are in the early stages of developing their Deepwater hydrocarbon sectors. “Our greatest asset is the Gulf of Paria..., which is like a lake in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean,” he said. Adding that another significant asset was the ISCOTT dock which is underutilized, Ramnarine said maritime services could become a big job creator and revenue generator for the country but the strategic vision and planning were lacking.
The theme of Thursday’s Zoom seminar was: “Managing in the Perfect Storm - Governance Challenges in the Energy Sector.” Ramnarine said that to improve governance on State Boards, how those Boards were appointed and constituted had to change. He suggested that the Statoil (now Equinor) and Saudi Aramco models could be looked at in this regard. These allowed for the appointment of directors from various interest groups and for the appointment of foreign directors.
CCGI has been hosting weekly online seminars and discussions since the start of stay at home restrictions in March. Topics have ranged from “Governance Response to Covid-19,” “Embracing Digital While Mitigating the Risks,” “Partnering with Labour: Engaging Your Teams in the Battle Against the Pandemic,” and “Dealing with Difficult Boards.”
Non-profit organisations will be particularly interested in this week’s session, which will be held on Friday (June 12th). The topic is: “Avoid Non Compliance! Fulfil Legal Obligations Created by the Non Profit Organisations Act.” According to CCGI CEO Kamla Rampersad De Silva, the new Act was passed in June 2019, and requires new filing obligations which come into effect at the end of this month. For more information visit the CCGI’s website at: www.caribbeangovernance.org.
Please contact Kamla Rampersad de Silva, CEO-CCGI
On Wednesday 30th January 2019, the CCGI held its 2nd annual event for family owned businesses.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers, a platinum sponsor, facilitated the engaging and informative seminar which provided a variety of insights on Succession Planning. The seminar also dealt with topics linked to Succession Planning including Estate Planning & Tax Structuring for Family Owned Businesses & Valuation.
In their presentation, Zia Paton, Partner, Consulting & Shermarke Howard, Director, Consulting stated that “family businesses need to proactively plan for sustainable growth and succession”.
Participants were encouraged to “start by documenting a strategic plan that addresses both core business strategies and family ownership issues, choose an appropriate succession model that balances the need for control while understanding the available talent pool (family/non-family) and plan early, communicate frequently, support ongoing development and assess performance objectively."
Lisa Awai, Partner, Advisory Services and Kester Popplewell, Director, Advisory Services made their contributions on the topic of Valuation, noting that ‘there are many stages throughout the life cycle of a business where the valuation of your equity interest will play a pivotal role in planning how you move forward. It’s important to remember that price does not necessarily equate value, that the value of an equity interest is not necessarily valued on a pro-rata basis.....some blocks of shares are worth more than others dependent on the ability to influence and control operations and that the value of your business does not necessarily equate to the value of your equity interest in the business."
Angelique Bart, Partner, Tax & Legal Services urged the business owners and Managing Directors in attendance to “deal with succession planning and include your management and other key personnel in the process Deal with estate planning separately. Finally, start the process early and get help to move forward."
The session concluded with a lively discussion where business owners shared real life stories on the topic of succession planning. Panellists included Dale Parson, CEO Kaleidoscope Group, Brian Jahra, Executive Chairman, CinemaOne Limited and Joel Persico, Commercial Director, Unicomer (Trinidad) Limited.
CCGI Director, Fe Lopez – Collymore expressed her gratitude to additional sponsors which included Republic Bank, Guardian Group, Goddard Enterprises Limited and Oscar Francois Limited.
First Floor, Chamber Building, Columbus Circle, Westmoorings Trinidad and Tobago