Caribbean Governance Blog

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  • 22 Mar 2020 12:30 PM | Anonymous

    The Governance Response to Covid-19

    By Kamla Rampersad de Silva

    Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute

    “Let us be calm, cool, think about each other and work with each other as we engage Covid-19 and the disruption it has brought to our lives,” This was the message from the chairman of the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute (CCGI) Mr. Nigel Romano to directors and senior managers across the region when the CCGI held its first online session entitled “The Governance Response to Covid-19” on Thursday March 19th, 2020. “I was in Hong Kong during SARS” he said, “we will get through this and we will come out even better.”

    This was echoed by Michael Annisette, President General of the SWWTU and the Secretary General of NATUC, in the session. Mr. Annisette was one of several panellists who participated in the online discussion.  Other members of the panel included CCGI Director and CEO of the Barbados Stock Exchange, Mr. Marlon Yarde; CCGI Director, CEO of Metro Office and Computer Supplies in Guyana, and Board Member of the Rotary Club of Georgetown Central, Ms. Avia Lindie; and Senior Vice President for People and Culture at Massy, Ms. Julie Avey.

    One of the challenges Mr. Annisette had to address recently was a situation where some workers felt that there should be a complete shut down of the entire country.  This feeling, he said, was triggered by the circulation of a lot of fake news and misinformation.  “Sense prevailed when we presented workers with the scenario of what would happen if police were sent home along with all doctors and nurses and other essential workers. What is needed,” he said, “is the leadership to protect those groups of workers and to let them know that they are valued for what they do and that we have their interests at heart.  We need to assure then that we will do all we can to put the proper protocols in to place to ensure that you, and by extension your families, are properly taken care of.”

    He was confident, he said, that “if we took that collective approach, we would have the ability to get there.”  The former independent senator noted that there is no one response since each company has to determine what is best.  He added that quite apart from the health workers, there is need to protect the health and safety of port workers, who have to remain on the job to clear containers for suppliers; supermarket workers and bus drivers, who are all still on the job.  He cautioned that boards and management teams should not be focused on any kind of disciplinary action at this time.

    An important point made by CCGI Chairman Mr. Romano, was the need for transparency within companies because he said, “bad news does not age well and so efforts must he made to ensure proper communication with all stakeholders.” He also noted that there is a silver lining in terms of environmental impact, as there has been a reduction in carbon emission due to less flying, and factories closing down.

    The unprecedented nature of the situation was underscored by Marlon Yarde.  Speaking from his office in Barbados he noted that no one is an expert in dealing with a pandemic such as Covid-19, but that everyone has had to develop expertise as quickly as possible.  He reminded participants that governance requires that boards maintain a bird’s eye view of their organisations to provide oversight.  “The board does not get involved in management and make day to day operational decisions,” he emphasised.

    As Mr Yarde explained, the health and safety of workers and customers need to be considered as well as financial impact and liquidity. “As a result, a crisis management plan needs to be in place with contingency arrangements with cross functional teams at the ready.”  And while he did not say it, the message was clear, no one can be considered to be indispensable because the virus does not discriminate and any member of the team can contract it if exposed.

    He also reminded listed companies of public disclosure requirements that must be met to fulfil regulatory obligations. He noted that requests for extensions to regulatory authorities must be accompanied by an explanation.

    Another point made by Mr. Yarde was the holding of Annual Meetings for organisations and especially listed companies. The CCGI held its annual meeting on March 6th, 2020 and a new board successfully installed. However, many other organisations have had to postpone AGMs. Given the unpredictability of Covid-19, Mr. Yarde said boards are in an unprecedented position to determine how to ensure compliance with their rules and regulations while still observing social distancing protocols, or in some cases, the self-isolation required of members.  Mr. Yarde explained that listed companies may require amendment of their bye laws and any such changes must meet the requirements of their respective stock exchange.

    Julie Avey of Massy said that her board and management team was dealing with the situation by first recognising that there was no right answer. “The managers have to do the things that they deem best at the time that they believe it’s right.  So they are being empowered to act with responsibility and alacrity and put employees and customers at the forefront,” she said.  Currently the Massy board is looking at responsible decision-making protocols and budget amendments to support the new way of doing things.

    “There will be mistakes but we are relying on our values to take us through,” she said. “Even in the scenario planning no one had predicted this, so perfection is not expected but everyone is encouraged to keep going.  The stress and anxiety are real.  Some of our most senior leaders who have gotten to these positions through having the right answer and knowing what to do all of the time may need the most support because the situation is unprecedented.”

    Across in Guyana, with official results of the March 2nd, 2020 General Election still to be pronounced, the sitting government gazetted new powers to some of its Ministers to “restrain, segregate and isolate”, to deal with the Covid-19 threat.  This was shared by Avia Lindie.  She added that measures include no congregating of more than 10 persons as businesses seek to ensure business continuity. Like Trinidad and Tobago, the Guyanese borders have been closed except for cargo and emergency situations and all schools have been closed for the next few weeks.  Lindie explained that not having a government in place and not having budgets mean that the situation is exacerbated but prayed that good sense will prevail, and that these situations will be resolved soon.

    Dr Terrence Farrell who was online for the session stated, “all the countries of the region are going into a kind of complete stop with movement of persons in or out of the borders and so all economies are going into a kind of maintenance mode, which translates to a decline in economic activity. Persons who are living from pay check to pay check will be severely affected and so the measures taken in Trinidad & Tobago by the banking system are welcomed.”

    The former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago who was asked his opinion on containment efforts so far, applauded the Trinidad and Tobago government on actions to date. “As the virus unfolds”, he added, “no one is certain as to how long it may last. The suppression strategy is the right strategy, but the economic impact can be pretty long. And the longer it goes on, the more difficult it will be to sustain.” He also reminded the regional participants that we don’t have the capacity to give cheques to citizens like the US and that any fiscal stimulus will run into foreign exchange barriers. Ms. Lisa Mohammed, Deputy CEO of TOSL explained that her company was also doing all it could to facilitate the needs of workers and have limited customers access to their offices. Ms Antonia Ferrer, consultant, stated that following the WHO guidelines would help in ensuring that the right protocols are followed and would work best for companies.

    As boards grapple with this new situation, it is clearly a time when new policies and procedures need to be put in to place, and we need to do it together in order to ensure that we prevail in this fight against Covid-19.


  • 29 Jun 2016 8:06 AM | Anonymous

    Chairman of the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute (CCGI), Dr Axel Kravatzky, and Richard Frederick, Advisor on Good Governance, are interviewed by Fazeer Mohammed of TV6 on Corporate Governance of State Owned Enterprises in Trinidad & Tobago.

    CCGI partnered with the Embassy of the United States of America in this initiative and is grateful for the Embassy's financial and project support which made this visit of Richard Frederick to Trinidad & Tobago possible.


  • 22 Dec 2015 9:31 AM | Denise Deonarine
    The Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute ("the Institute") was pleased to have the opportunity to support the PSOJ by engaging in a Consultative Review of the Draft PSOJ Corporate Governance Code.


    In keeping with our pledge to keep our membership informed and to advance the principles of good corporate governance, we are happy to share our contribution that  was respectfully submitted to the PSOJ. We encourage their efforts and look forward to working with the PSOJ. Click here to read more at: 2015  PSOJ Code Review.pdf


    We wish to thank the PSOJ for this opportunity and the members of the Institute that contributed to this review. 

    If you are not a member, please step up and sign up by clicking our membership tab. We'd be happy to foster your drive to made a difference. 

  • 19 Nov 2015 11:00 PM | Administrator

    The Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute (“CCGI”) opened its arms to embrace a community that is passionate about improving regional standards of corporate governance.  The End of Year Networking Mixer entitled Charting the Course was held at the corporate office of CCGI on 14 Alcazar Street, St. Clair on November 19 2015.

    The mixer featured honoured guests that included Mr. Elton Prescott S.C. of M.G. Daly & Partners, Mrs. Amoy Chan Fong former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Mr. Tim Stew, High Commissioner of the British High Commission and key note speaker Mrs. Ingrid Lashley – Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Trinidad & Tobago Mortgage Finance Company Limited.

    In her address, Mrs. Lashley indicted ”Good governance must begin with a code of conduct that speaks to respect and discipline and we, as messengers, must ensure that we do our part to ensure that the  message is broadcast until it becomes an integral part of our culture, our process and our lives”.

    Dr. Axel Kravatzky, Chairman of the CCGI reminded attendees “As we all know organizations that are well directed and controlled, perform better. The ultimate purpose of CCGI is for people across the Caribbean to experience their organizations and societies as well directed and controlled and they benefit from the fruits of their labour. CCGI’s work is powered by, consists of, and develops leaders you can trust. The other ingredient necessary for trust to grow is values. Values are the fundamental reason for us coming together as an Institute and as a community this evening. Welcome to the journey!”

    The event was held through the patronage of EY (Trinidad and Tobago) and Intercommerical Bank Limited of the JMMB Group. Attendees were tasked with cracking the 011415 Code that provided paramount excitement. Next year promises more events of this kind each with a riveting agenda.

    Step up and join up by visiting us on the web at by clicking our Membership Tab.



    Honoured Guest and Key Note Speaker: Mrs. Ingrid Lashley chats with Mr. Leslie Clarke and Mr. Ronnie Bissessar both Directors of the CCGI. 


    Mr. Leonard Birmingham of the Virgin Group chats with Dr. Axel Kravatzky, Chairman of the CCGI Mr. Richard Saunders Campus Registrar of U.W.I. 


    Denise Deonarine, Chief Executive Officer of the CCGI presents honoured guest Mr. Elton Prescott S.C with a token of appreciation. 


    Chief Executive Officer of the CCGI, Denise Deonarine presents honoured guest Mrs. Amoy Chan Fong with a token of appreciation.


    Mrs. Jacqueline Quamina Group General Counsel of Republic Bank and CCGI Director chats with Mr. Tim Stew, High Commissioner of the British High Commission and CCGI Member Jason Gordon. 

  • 04 Nov 2015 1:22 PM | Deleted user

    The CCGI Membership is steadily increasing.

    We would like to welcome the following new members to the Institute.

    • Adedayo Akande - University of Health Sciences Antigua 
    • Deborah Akande -  University of Health Sciences Antigua 
    • Keisha Baij-Ramsamooj- Intercommercial Bank Limited 
    • Robert Boopsingh- Eschaton Management Services Limited 
    • Karen Carew- Reinsurance Company of T&T Ltd (TRINRE) 
    • Vasantha Chase- Chase Consulting 
    • Randy Connor - RCC Barbados Kingdom 
    • Derrick W Cummins - J&T Bank and Trust 
    • Anthony Flynn - Lazarri and Sampson Ltd 
    • Jason Gordon - Caritrack Ltd 
    • Christina Hyatali - Reinsurance Company of T&T Ltd (TRINRE) 
    • Nicola Joseph - Independent
    • Colleen Murray - Independent 
    • Pernel Roberts - Trinidad and Tobago United Drag Races Association 





  • 04 Nov 2015 10:24 AM | Deleted user


    Denise brings with her over 12 years of experience in the business development, marketing and legal support services arena to the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute. She is an alumnus of the University of London holding her BSc. Management (Hons.) and is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Laws.



  • 16 Oct 2015 12:00 PM | Administrator

    The Mandate - 1h:37min Radio Show

    Mariano Brown, former Minister in the Ministry of Finance of Trinidad and Tobago, and Dr Axel Kravatzky, Chairman of the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute discuss the governance of state owned enterprises.

  • 15 Oct 2015 4:00 PM | Administrator

    I95.5 Drivetime - Importance of Corporate Reporting in Corporate Governance

    Chairman of the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute (CCGI), Dr Axel Kravatzky, on importance of corporate reporting and corporate governance.


  • 15 Oct 2015 7:00 AM | Administrator

    CCN TV 6 Morning Edition - Trinidad & Tobago

    Chairman Dr. Axel Kravatzky speaks on the importance of Corporate Governance for the State Sector on CCN TV6 .

    "Having no common standard cannot help collective action"


  • 01 May 2015 10:00 AM | Deleted user

    C:\Users\Karen.Carew\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\069MW2PB\Pic 3.jpg

    Written by Rani Lakhan-Narace


    Famous for its literary luminaries such as Derek Walcott and V.S. Naipaul and world renowned athletes like Brian Lara and Usain Bolt, the Caribbean is an international power-house of talent and potential. With a population of over 40 million, a strategic geographical location, and stable political climate, it has in the past been a magnet for foreign investment.

    However, over recent years, with the advent of globalization and other emerging markets and the financial crisis, the region has seen a lot of pressure on their small economies leaving both the private and state sectors no alternative but to focus on diversification, competitiveness and the development of new and stronger markets.

    In order to continue to attract foreign investors, and build strategic alliances, the Caribbean must quickly respond to the escalating attention on Corporate Governance as a prerequisite for those relationships to prosper. From Enron, to Lehman Brothers, to CLICO, Board of Directors are being held increasingly accountable for responsible leadership; and are under constant scrutiny by all stakeholders. More than ever, it is essential that Directors and Senior Executives have the relevant knowledge and capacity to perform effectively in this new environment.

    Currently, the level of Corporate Governance disclosure in the Caribbean does not meet international best practice compared to other emerging markets and as such there is an urgent need to provide capacity building and training to Directors and Officers of both private and public sectors. To this end, the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute (CCGI) was formed and for the last three years, it has been working assiduously to fill this key gap in the region.

    The Institute has successfully developed a world class program, with an internationally recognized faculty, that focuses on strengthening Corporate Governance Leadership through Master Classes, and the Chartered Director Program.

    Additionally, the CCGI, as a membership organization with a current presence in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, St. Lucia, British Virgin Islands, provides forums for networking as well as for discussions and education on the latest issues that impact the business environment.

    Significance of Being a Chartered Director:


    Achieving the qualification of Chartered Director, means that a Director or Executive has demonstrated an internationally accepted level of competence in the key areas of Governance, Finance, Strategy and Leadership as it pertains to Board performance. The program provides an integrated system of learning which combines practical skills, knowledge and experience in a recognized and coherent framework which ensures that participants are also kept up to date on strategic issues and changes that affect organizations.

    As such, the Chartered Director is equipped to make a valuable contribution to any Board through a breadth of knowledge and experience that will increase the quality of stewardship that is being demanded of Boards in today’s dynamic landscape.

    The Chartered Director Program Structure:


    This program has been developed under the direction of CCGI’s, Director of Education, Dr. Chis Pierce who works with policy makers, directors and Boards in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, the United States and South America. He was the Director of Professional Standards and Professional Development at the Institute of Directors in the United Kingdom.

    To achieve Chartered Director status, one must complete the Certificate Program, the Diploma Program and the Final Chartered Director designation process. This in depth process ensures that Directors not only acquire the knowledge, but are able to put it into practice and be tested on such knowledge. Furthermore, Directors are taken through a peer-review process which allows a level of accountability within the local context. The Institute understands the busy schedules of its target audience, and as such designed a program that integrates a flexible schedule and learning modules including both in-person and online learning.  The diagram below demonstrates the progressive process to achieve Chartered Director status.  It begins with a Certificate Programme followed by a Diploma and Chartered Director Programme. At each stage there is a final assignment and examination process.  

    chartered_director_process_wip5.jpg

    1. Certificate Program

    The Certificate Programme is a carousel style certification and consists of four parts which can be taken in any order: 
    Part 1 - Corporate Governance
    Part 2 - The Board
    Part 3 - Strategy & risk
    Part 4 - Corporate Reporting
    2. Diploma Program
    • Two Workshops
    • Followed by an assignment and an examination
    3. Chartered Director

    Requires Completion of Evidence-based assignment on Leadership at Board level.

    So whether you are currently a Director, or aspiring to be one, or an Officer such as Corporate Secretary, COO or CFO in the public sector, private sector or family business, this program can certainly and progressively increase your effectiveness in your particular role. In so doing, it will not only expand your competencies but also magnify your eligibility and credibility for other Board opportunities.

    The Chartered Director Program can move you, your Board and your organization from “Good to Great…..” and by doing so, contribute to stronger firms, stronger markets, and stronger economies.



    For more information about the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute (CCGI) please contact:

    Desiree Gobin-Seecharan  
    CEO
    Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute
    #14 Alcazar Street Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
    T:   +1.868.221.8707
    F:   +1.868.221.5306
    M:  +1.868.774.3306
    E: desiree.gobin-seecharan@caribbeangovernance.org

    www.caribbeangovernance.org










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