Williams made the statement to the media after the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Regulatory Workshop entitled Caribbean Countries and Global Financial Regulation: A Practitioner’s Forum at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
“In the final analysis, crime was of the issue. Crime was adding to the cost of doing business,” said Williams. “If this state of emergency succeeds in significantly reducing the level of crime, then other things being equal, it should, in the long term, help the business climate.”
Williams said while these kinds of situations impact production structures, they also affect investors. “These kinds of dislocations engender a wait-and-see attitude on the part of investors and I’m sure that’s going to happen here. They will want to make sure that the root causes of the SoE have been addressed. But I think in the final analysis we are going to be fine.”
In his address at the forum, Minister of National Security, Brigadier John Sandy said the forum could not come at a better time as developments in the global financial markets remind us of the need for financial regulation.
The purpose of the forum was to provide an overview of recent policy developments in regulatory architecture and to share insight into the impact of new regulations on developing countries. Additionally, the workshop sought to identify the ongoing needs of developing countries and determine whether the existing multilateral institutional response could be supplemented.
“Global reforms should be complemented and augmented by national and regional reform, taking into account the very different characteristics of emerging economies’ financial systems from those of advanced economies,” said Sandy.
Sandy noted, due to advances in technology and communications, the global financial system is subject to economic crisis and is being attacked by financial criminals. Currency counterfeiting, intellectual property crime, cyber terrorism, money laundering, terrorist financing, etc, all have the potential to destabilise national economies.
According to Sandy, among other things, terrorism destabilises legitimately constituted governments and compromises the security of states. “Trinidad and Tobago, must therefore, do its part, in ensuring that terrorists have no access to funding,” said Sandy. “The vulnerability for money laundering in TT exists as a result of its geographical location in particular between elicit drug producing and elicit drug consuming countries of the world. It is imperative therefore that we sustain our efforts to diminish this vulnerability.”