Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said the same enthusiasm the Commission launched into the construction of TOP leader Ashworth Jack’s home, they should do for the Milshirv fiasco.
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Tuesday January 22, 2013 – Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says she has “no quarrel” with the Integrity Commission after it wrote President George Maxwell Richards seeking its support following open criticism from the head of the coalition government in Trinidad and Tobago.
In a statement, the Commission made reference to remarks by Prime Minister Persad Bissessar that it had “an appearance of bias” as she campaigned on behalf of the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) during the just concluded Tobago House of assembly (THA) elections.
The Commission said “it views this statement with regret. Such comment is not consistent with the truth” and that “it must be emphasised that it is not, nor has it ever been, the Commission’s practice to announce any matters which are under investigation by the Commission”.
But the prime minister said while she had “no quarrel with the Integrity Commission” she has “merely voiced what many members of the public believe, that the Integrity Commission is inconsistent with the way it reacts and pronounces on matters before it”.
She said the Commission, which is chaired by former government minister and newspaper publisher Ken Gordon, was “rushing to make public statements selectively on certain matters while remaining stonily silent on others of even greater public importance and urgency.
“It is for reasons such as this, among others, that public confidence in the impartiality of the Commission remains so low,” she added.
During the campaign, Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar accused the Integrity Commission of being biased in the controversial multi-million dollar Milshirv deal, stating there is a stony silence on the matter which leaves much to be desired.
She called on the commission to clear the air on the Milshirv scandal as it reeked of corruption and backslapping, describing it as a “PNM (People’s National Movement) family affair.”
“Whilst the Commission was quick to announce and comment on the fact that complaints against the TOP was being investigated, there has been a stony silence on this TT$310 million (One TT dollar = US$0.16 cents) transaction, which leaves a lot to be desired and some may say reeks of an appearance of perception of bias by the Commission.”
She said the same enthusiasm the Commission launched into the construction of TOP leader Ashworth Jack’s home, they should do for the Milshirv fiasco.
In its statement, the Commission said that it would be contrary to its guidelines to announce other investigations which could be under way.
As a preliminary step, the Commission said it had taken the matter to President Richards, reminding that the members were appointed by his office in keeping with the provisions of the Trinidad and Tobago Constitution.
“He also advised that the Commission continues to enjoy his full confidence and support,” the Commission said. (CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)
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