Negotiating Under Pressure: Selling Public Assets in Trinidad and Tobago

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Deryck R. Brown


This paper reviews the experiences of the small, twin-island Caribbean state of Trinidad and Tobago in negotiating the privatization of SOEs to foreign buyers/contractors during the late 1980s and 1990s, and points to critical short-comings in the approach to negotiations that put that country at a disadvantage in terms of securing "the best possible deal." Drawing on the transcripts of a roundtable convened to discuss negotiation preparedness, the paper's modest aim is to highlight identified weaknesses in the very capacity to negotiate and their implications for public management. It does not attempt to gauge the success or failure of specific negotiations, nor indeed to assess the integrity of the negotiation process itself, but is intended to serve as an initial foray into an area requiring far more detailed investigation and comparative analysis.

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