In T&T: DOMA: Give back to PoS

7 August 2012


Corporate Social Responsibility or preservation of self-interest? You decide, but either way the capital city certainly needs a facelift.

The Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) wants Local Government Minister Dr Suruj Rambachan to consider legislation to make it mandatory for businesses to give back to the city.

Speaking at a media briefing at Nicholas Towers in Port of Spain yesterday following a meeting with Rambachan, Aboud said although the Business Improvement District (BID) concept was not theirs, it had worked wonders in the United States.

And he wants it in the capital city of Port of Spain.

“We have requested of the Minister legislation obligating business members in the downtown city centre to contribute to a central business fund, more commonly known in the United States as a BID where members of the business community would take more responsibility for conditions in the city.

“What the BID does is obligate the owner of the business or the tenant to make a nominal contribution that is worked out on a formula, because the fact is the business community has first of all a moral responsibility to contribute to the environment in which they operate,” Aboud said.

Aboud said the BID, which is a modern mechanism used to respond to complaints that the Government is not doing enough, recognises that not everybody contributes voluntarily, but that it is the responsibility of those who are doing business to give back.

This, he said, is no different in Port of Spain, where only 50 and 40 per cent of the business owners ever contribute to activities in the city.

“Instead of always complaining about crime, a properly funded BID would put street security officers on the beat. Instead of complaining about vagrancy, a BID would give the conscientious business community some funding to allow them to come up with programmes to establish a food kitchen or a park where street dwellers could be taken off the streets,” Aboud added.

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