Civic watch group, Fixin’ T&T, has urged the Acting Commissioner of Police, Stephen Williams, to investigate Housing Minister and Port of Spain South MP Marlene McDonald for fraud, misrepresentation, misbehaviour in public office and breach of Parliamentary rules.
The request is anchored on documents unearthed through the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act, which show that McDonald hired her common-law husband, Michael Carew, and his brother, Lennox Carew, between the periods of 1 June 2010 and 8 September 2015 at her Port of Spain South constituency office.
The combined salaries of both employees accounted for 60 percent of the constituency’s monthly budgetary allocation of TT$45,700.
The following is the Fixin’ T&T press release:
March 15, 2016.
Mr Stephen Williams,
Acting Commissioner of Police,
Police Administration Building,
Corner of Edward and Sackville Street,
Port of Spain.
Dear Mr Williams,
FIXIN’ T&T submits to you the attached documents for investigation to determine whether payments made by the Member of Parliament for Port of Spain South to Michael Carew and Lennox Carew constitute:
1. Fraud; and/or
2. Misrepresentation; and/or
3. Misbehaviour in public office.
4. Breach of Parliamentary rules
The documents presented here are available to the public from the Office of the Parliament. They relate to staff payments at the Port of Spain South constituency office.
As you would be aware, these funds are released to Members of Parliament by the Office of the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago and, as such, are public payments. The payments are governed by rules related to, among other things, the hiring of staff.
In this regard, I wish to draw your attention to the payments made to Michael Carew over the period 1 June 2010 to 7 September 2015 and Lennox Carew over the period 1 March 2011 to 7 September 2015 and 8 September 2015 to the present time.
Mr Michael Carew received a monthly payment of TT$13,400 while Mr Lennox Carew has and continues to receive a monthly salary of TT$14,000. Over the period 1 March 2011 and 7 September 2015, the combined salaries of both employees accounted for 60 percent of the constituency’s monthly budgetary allocation of TT$45,700.
The particular relevance of these facts is that:
1. Mr Michael Carew meets the legal definition of spouse to the Member of Parliament for Port of Spain South, Marlene McDonald.
2. Mr Michael Carew and Mr Lennox Carew are brothers.
3. Mr Michael Carew and Mr Lennox Carew are both directors of the Calabar Foundation which, over a 15-day period in April to May 2010, applied for and received monies in the sum of TT$575,000 from the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs then headed by Minister Marlene McDonald. The name Calabar Foundation was applied for on July 14, 2010. It was registered on August 24, 2010.
4. We have been unable to verify whether Mr. Lennox Carew resided in Trinidad the entire period for which he was paid.
In light of the above, FIXIN’ T&T specifically requests an investigation to determine whether the payments of the salaries to Mr Michael Carew and Mr Lennox Carew infringe any law of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and/or the rules of the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago.
· Mr Roger Gaspard SC – Director of Public Prosecutions
· Justice Zainool Hosein (Retired) – Chairman of the Integrity Commission of Trinidad and Tobago
· Mrs Bridgid Annisette George – Speaker of the House of Representatives
· The Honourable Marlene McDonald – Minister; Ministry of Housing
Editor’s Note: You can read the edited document for Staff and Salaries from the Port of Spain South Constituency, which shows initials for paid persons other than the Carews, by clicking on the following link: Staff and salaries PoS South Constituency Office 2007- Present Edited