Vieira, Thompson-Ahye differ on electronic registry system

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Independent Senator Anthony Vieira –

INDEPENDENT Senators Anthony Vieira, SC and Hazel Thompson-Ahye expressed different views on whether an electronic registry system for companies would be beneficial.

They expressed their views in the debate on the Miscellaneous Provisions (Registrar General, Companies, Registration of Business Names, and Non-Profit Organisations) Bill, 2023.

The Senate passed the bill with amendments.

Vieira said he was prepared to support the bill. He described the system, which the bill would fully operationalise, as an essential step in moving Trinidad and Tobago from developing to developed nation status.

He said he had other relatives with the same name as him, but added that were they all to register on this system, they would each be easily distinguished by clearly designed protocols.

Vieira liked the fact that the system was being rolled out in phases and catered for people who were not yet tech-savvy.

He added that in the digital age, a culture shift was neccessary as TT sought to become a paperless society. Vieira said it was a case of “adapt or perish.”

He warned that if the bill was not passed and the system not allowed to become fully operational, there would be consequences.

He identified these as continued inefficiencies in conducting business transactions and reliance on outdated technological systems which could be more easily breached.

Thompson-Ahye took issue with the system being called CROS (computer registration online system). She said anything described as “a cross” is usually not good.

“The petticoat is longer than the dress.”

She wondered whether the system could properly address any instances of alleged corruption in government departments.

Thompson-Ayhe identified the probate registry as one department that has been riddled with inefficiencies for years. She said people seeking to probate wills and other documents go through this process for years without success, which frustrated lawyers and led to people accusing relatives of obtaining benefits which should have been theirs.

In concluding the debate, Attorney General Reginald Armour, SC, CROS told Thompson-Ahye the probate registry fell under the Judiciary, and CROS will not be involved in that registry’s affairs.