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Fixin’ T&T: Rowley must remove Marlene McDonald immediately

The following is a press release from Fixin’ T&T, which calls for the immediate removal of Housing Minister Marlene McDonald pending an investigation into her conduct:

Photo: Minister of Housing Marlene McDonald. (Copyright Andy Hypolite/Trinidad Guardian)
Photo: Minister of Housing Marlene McDonald.
(Copyright Andy Hypolite/Trinidad Guardian)

FIXIN’ T&T insists that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley immediately remove Ms Marlene McDonald as a Government Minister pending the outcome of investigations into the allegations levelled against her.

This, in light of the admission made yesterday (Monday 11, 2015) by the Housing Minister about enquiries she made in 2008 as to the status of an application made to the HDC by someone with whom she had a personal relationship.

It is the only appropriate action that can be taken if the PM is true to his campaign promises of restoring decency along with good, honest, transparent and accountable governance to Trinidad and Tobago.

For any Government Minister to suggest that direct enquiries into a matter such as this would not wield influence, is naive at best and perhaps dishonest at worst; even if it is not within his/her own ministry.

Ms McDonald’s statement yesterday begs more questions that need to be answered.

FIXIN’ T&T expects this probe to be fair, efficient and expeditious.

AboutFixin TT

Fixin TT
Fixin T&T's mission is the realization of good governance to achieve healthy, holistic, and fulfilling lifestyles for all citizens through the study, promotion, and furtherance of strong democratic institutions; sound infrastructure; integrity in public and corporate affairs; and a culture of respect by all for the laws and regulations of the country to create a safe, secure, efficient and productive Trinidad & Tobago.

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505 comments

  1. “21. (1) A person in public life who—
    (a) fails, without reasonable cause, to furnish to the
    Commission a declaration, or further particulars
    which he is required to furnish in accordance with
    the provisions of the Act;
    18 Chap. 22:01 Integrity in Public Life
    LAWS OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
    UNOFFICIAL VERSION
    UPDATED TO DECEMBER 31ST 2014
    MINISTRY OF LEGAL AFFAIRS http://www.legalaffairs.gov.tt
    Integrity in Public Life Chap. 22:01 19
    LAWS OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
    L.R.O.
    (b) knowingly makes a declaration that is false;
    (c) fails, without reasonable cause to give such
    information or explanation as the Commission or a
    tribunal may require;
    (d) fails, without reasonable cause to attend an enquiry
    being conducted by a tribunal appointed under
    section 15 or knowingly gives false information in
    such enquiry,
    is guilty of an offence, and liable on summary conviction to a fine
    of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars and to imprisonment
    for a term of ten years.
    (2) Where, a person in public life is deemed to have
    been in possession of undisclosed income or assets and fails to
    account for such further income or assets, or where upon an
    enquiry, it is determined that such other income or assets have
    existed and the person in public life deliberately omitted to
    disclose such information in the declaration filed with the
    Commission, he shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine
    of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars and imprisonment for
    a term of ten years, and where the offence involves the deliberate
    non-disclosure of property the Court may in addition—
    (a) where the property involved is situated in
    Trinidad and Tobago, declare that it be forfeited
    to the State;
    (b) where the property involved is situated outside
    of Trinidad and Tobago, order that an amount
    equivalent to the value of the property (the value
    to be assessed as directed by the Court), be paid
    by the person in public life to the State.”

  2. “12. (1) A declaration required under this Act, shall include
    such particulars as are known to the declarant, of the income, assets
    and liabilities of himself, his spouse and his dependent children.
    (2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), where—
    (a) the spouse was not ordinarily living with the
    declarant for a continuous period of six months
    during the period in relation to which the
    declaration was made”

  3. I am made to understand that our PM made it clear that he will not fire the Minister in question nor invite her to resign. So, let us just wait and see how this matter will be handled if the public pressure the PM to act.

  4. The Minister should be arrested and charged. The evidence is so blatant and glaring. In the US she would have been led out of parliament in handcuffs.

  5. I do not think that the Minister should resign and have never called for any firings or resignations, even with high Public Officials to whom I had directed serious criticism – eg Calder Hart, Ewart Williams (does anyone know where Mr Williams is now serving within the Public Service?) or even then Prime Ministers Patrick Manning and Kamla Persad-Bissessar …the responsible Public Officials should conduct themselves properly and must be held accountable for the effective and lawful discharge of their duties…There are clear and huge problems within the HDC which this ‘Marlene’ issue both both obscures and highlights, that is the powerful paradox at work in the heart of this episode… I will be writing on this for next week’s column…

    • Well, seems they start with the PS at the Ministry of Legal Affairs. Don’t know if you read the statement/excuse from the last PS to the PM on why action was not taken against the PS at the Ministry of Sport. Let me fill you in-cause his name was not called in the report! I will leave that there.

  6. I suspect the social media pressure will eventually get to the PM.

  7. I’m willing to wait the week to see how the Prime Minister responds.
    Marlene though shpuld have had thr decency to resign immediately.

  8. Remove her for what? Steups! The people removed the PNM in 2010. They earned their right to govern again. I am beyond tired of the PeePeePissBrigade Clownship.

  9. “After staunchly sidestepping the issue when it first arose two weeks ago, Housing Minister Marlene McDonald on Monday did an about-face and admitted that, in her previous incarnation as Minister of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs, she did make inquiries to the Housing Development Corporation on behalf of a close personal friend.

    That had not been Ms McDonald’s initial reaction, though. Calling the allegations made by Opposition Senator Wayne Sturge “a wild goose chase,” the incumbent Housing Minister had stoutly denied that she owned any house supplied by the HDC, even though this was not the allegation made.

    Rather, Mr Sturge had accused her of using her then-ministerial position in 2008 to obtain favourable consideration for one Michael Carew, who has been variously described as a close friend and the common-law husband of Ms McDonald.

    Now, she is admitting that she did make an enquiry on behalf of Mr Carew, whom she described as “a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, who was a retired teacher and with whom I had a personal relationship.” But she also asserted that as Community Development Minister she “performed no functions in relation thereto and the public resources for which I was at the time responsible did not include the allocation of housing.”

    This argument lacks conviction. Even the greenest Government Minister would know better than to make an approach in this way. Most public servants interpret such inquiries as an indirect directive to ensure that such people are given preferential treatment.

    This may be why Prime Minister Keith Rowley, in a media conference on Tuesday, emphasised that Ms McDonald had addressed her inquiry to the then Housing Minister. This, however, means only that the Minister with direct responsibility would have sent the inquiry to the relevant public servant, so Dr Rowley’s argument is even more specious.

    Minister McDonald has implied that her inquiry was simply a standard duty for a citizen of T&T who was one of many such people for whom she made an inquiry.

    This is an unconvincing explanation. After all, according to Minister McDonald herself in a statement to Parliament last November, there are 168,065 applications before the HDC. Obviously, then, any citizen who can get any Government Minister to make a personal inquiry is well-connected in some way, whether by party card or personal relationship or fewer than six degrees of separation.

    However, apologists for whichever party is in office typically ask, as though it is a rhetorical question, whether the relatives and friends of Government ministers should not get assistance. The answer is no, they should not. Precisely because they have that pull-string, anyone personally affiliated to government ministers should go through the normal procedures that most citizens have to endure. Indeed, were this the norm, those procedures would almost surely see rapid improvements in efficiency.

    At any rate, it remains an open question as to whether Ms McDonald committed any wrong-doing, with the allegation as to whether she gave Mr Carew money to buy the upper-income property still to be addressed. Much depends on what further evidence may come to light. For now, however, she has the Prime Minister’s staunch support.”

  10. If Dr. Rowley fires Marlene Mc D, then he has to fire Nicole O or else it will seem as though he is setting a double standard. Marlene Mc D has been a close supporter of Dr. Rowley, so he must tread lightly.

    Marlene’s track record: Secret scholarship
    $3 million dollar community centre
    HDC house for boo

  11. No more time to waste on distraction….have a great day all!

  12. The more parties that keep the issue at the forefront, the better. Let us not only have the politicians and the media doing this as they both tend to do it at their own convenience.

  13. Maybe they should FIX their name because they are not FIXING anything!

  14. The Parliament keeps issues at the forefront.
    The news and other tv and radio programs like Morning Edition do the same thing too.

  15. Keeping issues at the forefront. We are a forgetful people.

  16. I have even joined them at the Parliament on occasion when I thought that I had to be there to show support for the issues raised by Fixin T&T. They definitely serve a purpose!

  17. In my opinion, all NGO’s have a part to play. They, along with the MSJ, have consistently spoken out on issues of national importance. We may not like what they say nor when they say it, but definitely they have been consistent, unlike many other NGO’-which probably only speak out on issues of their interest, in all fairness.

  18. Why didn’t the UNC deal with Marlene when they were in power and looking anything to make the PNM look bad?! For that reason alone I could say that there is probably nothing here but something to try to stir up the population in the same way that misinformation on the property tax is being disseminated by the Congress of Prakash and the UNC faithful.

  19. And it’s not all of a sudden!
    I always thought they were a waste of time.
    Dr. Rowley is the one who had the UNC’s feet to fire, not Fixing T&T.
    Waste of bloody time!

  20. Come on guys…we cannot continue like this…Business as usual…If you don’t care what we think and whether you get re-elected or not, think about where this is leading the country.

  21. Dr. Rowley and the other opposition MPs did that!
    Who needs Fixing T&T?
    Did they unearth anything that the the then opposition hadn’t already brought to the nation’s attention?
    What did they do to Fix T&T?

  22. Look how they have you all beating up over Marlene while they are laughing in the background about their success in diverting attention away from them.

  23. All of a sudden Fixin’ T&T irrelevant, after holding the Persad-Bissessar administration’s feet to the fire for five years?

  24. The issue is not the witch hunt ( which I admit occurred) or the guilt of Moonilal or others of the UNC party. The issue is not even the money value or quantity of matters that Marlene is improperly connected to. Nor is the issue the amount of time that passed ( by the way these allegations were circulating for quite a while now). The issue is that she is an minister of government and correctly subjected to the scrutiny of the people and the expectation of the highest ideals. It’s a matter of principle. And it’s a movement towards integrity in government and the eradication of corruption and nepotism- aspects of the culture in government that have our country where it is right now. To achieve that change we have to be loyal to principle, integrity and correctness. Not to party or persons. and not excusing or rationalizing wrong doing, But calling it out and making it clear that it’s no longer accepted.

  25. They don’t know how to say what they really want.

  26. Is it just me or the response from a body calling itself ‘Transparency’ seems to involve more gymnastics? Lord, have a position nah, this in the public domain long enough.

  27. Who de hell is Fixing T&T?
    They have been blowing hot air for the longest while and have done nothing to better this country.
    They are irrelevant!

  28. I think someone asked about my ability to write. lol “Once upon a time there was a fella named Karew.
    Retired teacher and De Minister’s reputed Boo.
    Some say Common law but she say he was just a Screw
    Along with some other nuts and bolts, yeah that Too
    Figure out a way to get a house and he get Through
    Even use the Minster’s money, the docs looking like iz True
    But de Minister bright like dat , she is no Booboo
    Use she weight to get him another cheque and we money it Flew
    Get caught by meh boy Adrien, who tell she long time he Knew
    Buss de mark on she but she get away like them fellas in de Coup
    Laugh at him and say cry now nah, go Boohoo
    But he had is revenge as Stooge and company start to cook to make a Brew
    Get a lucky break when she and Jerls fall out and is allegations Anew
    Jerls nah, de one who dey does call de black Syrian or is it Jew
    Time for Keithos to act now he say he doh know what to Do
    Once false Move with Marls and he will end up in Doodoo
    Hear she have one setta info on him enough to put he cock in a Stew
    UnC people calling for she head forgetting how quiet dey was when de lady say for a house, Glen she Blew
    PnM people performing mental gymnastics saying business as usual, UnC do it Too
    The independents watching saying, what the F@#K wrong with the party Crew
    Whilst I’m over here thinking how we could flush all ah dem down de toilet, or as they say in England, the Loo.
    Hope this poem don’t offend too much I cyah take on getting Sue
    So to avoid being too serious this poem I will change the view.
    And make a joke about how Marls is not only corrupt but one big fat Moo Moo.”

  29. This alleged wrong doing happened 7 years ago and is now being raised by the UNC after they have left government with massive corruption hanging over their heads and an audit that is to be conducted at the HDC.
    People are so gullible that they are unable to see that this has been raked up and blown out of proportion as a distraction away from the bobol that was going on under Moonilal at the HDC.
    People have fallen hook, link and sinker for this nonsense which is what the UNC set out to do in the first place.
    No one is talking about Moonilal anymore, it’s now about Marlene and a house worth $400, 000.00, and everyone is adding their two cents to it to make a mountain out of a molehill.

  30. This alleged wrong doing happened 7 years ago and is now being raised by the UNC after they have left government with massive corruption hanging over their heads and an audit that is to be conducted at the HDC.
    People are so gullible that they are unable to see that this has been raked up and blown out of proportion as a distraction away from the bobol that was going on under Moonilal at the HDC.
    People have fallen hook, link and sinker for this nonsense which is what the UNC set out to do in the first place.
    No one is talking about Moonilal anymore, it’s now about Marlene and a house worth $400, 000.00, and everyone is adding their two cents to it to make a mountain out of a molehill.

  31. When stacy reported corruption to the previous pm about surushramsaran why they was not campaigning for him to go

  32. Maybe it’s the fabulous bottle of wine I shared tonight eh, but I’m flabbergasted at the dotish attempts by some here to defend pure arseness on the part of the Minister. If the PM does not rescind her appointment forthwith he will have lost a great deal of credibility as far as I’m concerned. But, I’m just one single voter I suppose….

  33. But the real question is this:
    Would you beat out Marlene for a free house…… Dun dun dunnnnnnnn.
    #manhavebelly

  34. Anyway, it is what it is. The Prime Minister has said that he wants more info before he makes a change.
    And Marlene has found herself balancing on a ledge.
    From experience, we know it is only a matter of time when a politician finds him or herself in such a position.
    More skeletons will eventually come crawling out and the Prime Minister’s hand will be forced.
    I’m only suggesting that Rowley takes in front and acts under the facade of integrity at least. Either way, Marlene’s days are numbered.
    The way the PM handles this sacking will say plenty.

  35. Yes, the Integrity Commission cleared Marlene before. But, like I said, we would feel a lot more comfortable if we had people without skeletons to clean out the corrupt mess that is our public sector.

  36. Politicians will be politicians. it is there nature. But for people to pretend that they are ‘unbiased’ and for ‘cuntry’ I find that unconscionable.

  37. (Trinidad Express December 2014)

    Incumbent Port of Spain South Member of Parliament (MP) Marlene McDonald claims she did not know her companion was a director of a nongovernmental organisation (NGO) that received grants from the Ministry of Community Development, which she once headed under the former People’s National Movement (PNM) administration.

    In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Express last Thursday at her Piccadilly Street constituency office, McDonald broke her silence on the allegations of misconduct levelled against her.

    She feels she has been subjected to class discrimination from PNM colleagues because of her humble background and her elevation to chief whip and deputy political leader of the PNM.

    McDonald also dismissed allegations that she was under a fresh investigation by the Integrity Commission (IC).

    Admitting she shared a relationship with Michael Carew, a director of Calabar Foundation, McDonald claims she was in the dark over the grants given to the NGO under the Community Action for Revival and Empowerment Programme.

    “Michael Carew has his own home and I have my own home. We are together,” McDonald said.

    Lewis Carew and Victor Mc Eachrane are listed as the other directors of the NGO.

    McDonald and McEachrane were colleagues when she was employed at the Diego Martin Credit Union before she decided to throw her hat into the political ring…

    http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Marlene-dismisses-all-allegations-286476091.html

  38. It is HDC policy for a minister from another ministry to inquire as to the status of a close friend’s application for housing?

  39. And on the balance beam tonight let’s hear it for….hahahahhaahaaa

  40. So HDC policy allows for clear wrongdoing?
    I give up.
    Tell me the policy flawed and needs changing. But this mindlessness is too much. As it stands, according to HDC policy Marlene has not done anything that isn’t sanctioned, standard practice.

  41. It’s clear wrong doing. Use of office to influence a process to benefit a friend. The kind of thing to resign or be fired for. It’s a sad day when intelligent people lose their objectivity. It’s not answering the issue by citing the UNC infractions either. It’s so clear. We need to hold out politicians to a standard or things won’t ever change. It’s really up to us u know. We get the government we deserve.

  42. Nah, it’s clear wrong doing. Use of office to influence a process to benefit a friend. The kind of thing to resign or be fired for. It’s a sad day when intelligent people lose their objectivity. It’s not answering the issue by citing the UNC infractions either. It’s so clear. We need to hold out politicians to a standard or things won’t ever change. It’s really up to us u know. We get the government we deserve.

  43. Ok Wayne Sturge, stop talking rubbish now!

  44. I didn’t say I have no problem with it – the allocation policy needs review. But we nowhere closer to seeing anything/hearing anything (because Dick-Forde not talking) where Marlene ask for a house fuh she man.

  45. Where were you when UNC ministers were doing that and raping our treasury.
    You all are jokers, not to be taken seriously.

  46. You deserve to have Kamla and her thieves governing over you once more!

  47. And on whst basis are you condemning her Shaun Lynch, UNCism?