Express Business Filler #1

EMPLOYERS have a responsibility to assist their employees who may be victims of domestic violence.

So said ANSA McAL group human resources director Teresa White yesterday as she spoke during the launch of a Domestic Violence In The Workplace Policy at the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Westmoorings.

The policy is an initiative of the Crime and Justice Committee in partnership with the Trinidad and Tobago Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CADV) and the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

It seeks to address the effects of domestic violence in the workplace which include reduced productivity and low morale.

The policy states: “Abused persons may be late to work, have excessive and unaccustomed absences, seem stressed out and may be unable to concentrate or work productively. These behaviours can make it seem like the victim is an unsatisfactory team member when the person is experiencing the effects of an abusive relationship. Similarly, persons who are perpetrating domestic violence may also demonstrate signs (such as aggression, distraction, and emotional volatility) which may negatively affect their work performance.”

Speaking during the launch yesterday, White said ANSA McAL has already signed on to implement the policy.

“These are your people, you have to do something,” she said.

“You don’t look at people who you give an iota of concern about and leave them in a situation like that.”

CADV president Roberta Clarke said domestic violence continues to be a problem in T&T with some 9,000 women filing applications for protective orders each year. She said this results in disruption to the workplace.

However, she said if employees know they will have the support of their employers it would lead to greater protection, prevention and increased productivity.

The policy requires employers to render immediate assistance and support to victims of violence, such as information and referrals to support resources, institutionalise responsive policies and procedures to assist employees who are impacted by violence. The policy also calls on employers to aid employees who are perpetrators of violence and act to hold them accountable for their violent behaviour.

Supervisors and leaders in organisations are also to receive training on how to identify traits of abuse and take the necessary action.

A number of leading companies have already signed on to adopt the policy in their organisations, including ANSA McAL, Imjin Security Ltd, Massy Group, Amalgamated Security and Scotiabank.

Imjin director Imshah Mohammed invited other companies to come on board and said he hoped it would lead to the development of a national policy.


I wrote recently about the startling decision of the Government to reject the offer of Patriotic Energies and Technologies Ltd (Patriotic) to acquire the Petrotrin oil refinery, which the Government closed down.

When the titular head of the Ministry of Energy, Senator Franklin Khan, announced the sudden rejection, he gave no reason for it other than to identify three broad business heads in respect of which there were allegedly problems.

The country was left confused because the Government had chosen Patriotic as the preferred bidder, and had wanted the deal completed before the August general election.

The collapse of the Anti-Gang (Amendment) Bill, 2020, seeking to extend the Anti-Gang Act 2018 for another 30 months was not unexpected.

In contrast to March 2018 when the Government laid the ­initial bill, Friday’s parliamentary debate attracted little interest from the public whose outrage had been decisive in pushing the Opposition United National Congress into giving the required special three-fifths’ support needed for its passage.

In an interdependent world, even the “indispensable” United States cannot stand alone.

Last week, I focused on the need for president-elect Joe Biden to renew America’s transatlantic ties with Europe—the foundation of Western prosperity and stability since 1945—damaged by Donald Trump’s short-sighted “America First” policy. Biden must also urgently attend to Asia, where the US lost considerable ground in the last four years.

There is a notion that Trinis are a happy-go-lucky people—a description that may be more applicable to African-descended people than to members of other groups of the population.

Such a description may be more illustrative of those of us whose world view has been influenced by African religions and philosophies as put forth by John Mbiti in African Religion and Philosophy, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, or Chigozie Obioma’s An Orchestra of Minorities.

AFTER 58 years of leadership in both parliamentary and mayoral elections, and 16 or 17 development plans, it has been decreed that the city of Port of Spain will finally be transformed into a shiny new metropolis in North Trinidad. It is a welcomed announcement but like other similar declarations, some of us will adopt a wait-and-see attitude as the plans unfold.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has received a revelation of the state of Port of Spain and the growing homeless situation that exists.

Now, this has been happening for decades—having to be careful of how you walk if visiting the capital, not to step on someone sleeping on the pavement, or other stuff that may be there.