Civic watch group, Fixin’ T&T, will target Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and MPs Barry Padarath, Dr Bhoe Tewarie and Rushton Paray tomorrow for allegedly breaching Sections 24.2 and 29.1 of the Integrity in Public Life Act by having relatives employed at their constituency offices.
Fixin’ T&T, which is headed by businessman Kirk Waithe, has promised to deliver a letter to the Integrity Commission and the Director of Public Prosecutions tomorrow.
The group described offers by Persad-Bissessar and Padarath to repay the money paid to relatives as “insulting.”
The following is the full release by Fixin’ T&T:
FIXIN’ T&T will tomorrow deliver a letter to the Chairman of the Integrity Commission, copied to the Director of Public Prosecutions, requesting an investigation to determine whether Opposition Leader Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC, MPs Barry Padarath, Dr Bhoe Tewarie and Rushton Paray.
All of whom reportedly admitted to having relatives employed at their constituency offices, are in breach of the Integrity in Public Life Act as it relates to, among others, Sections 24 (2), and 29 (1).
We are deeply troubled and utterly confused by the response of Mrs Persad-Bissessar to allegations that she has relatives in the employ of her constituency office.
Surely the Opposition Leader understands the definition of the word ‘relative’.
Further, as a learned Senior Counsel, she must fully appreciate that ignorance of the law/rules is not a defence. Her as well as MP Barry Padarath’s suggestion that the monies paid to said relatives can simply be repaid, is insulting.
Our Administration of Justice does not allow alleged perpetrators of laws/rules to arbitrarily determine their own fate and the debt to be paid to society.
We look forward to the views of Dr Tim Gopeesingh, Dr Suruj Rambachan and Prakash Ramadhar on this matter with the same vigour as their pronouncement of the Marlene McDonald situation.
Provisions of the Integrity in Public Life Act:
Section 24 (2) states:
A person for whom this part applies shall not –
(a) use his office for the improper advancement of his own or his family’s personal or financial interests or the interest of any person;
(b) engage in any transaction, acquire any position or have any commercial or other interest that is incompatible with his office, function and duty or the discharge thereof;
(c) use public property or services for activities not related to his official work; or
(d) directly or indirectly use his office for private gain.
Section 29 (1) states:
For the purposes of this act, a conflict of interest is deemed to arise if a person in public life or any person exercising a public function were to make or participate in the making of a decision in the execution of his office and at the same time knows or ought reasonably to have known, that in the making of the decision, there is an opportunity either directly or indirectly to further his private interests or that of a member of his family or of any other person;
Section 31 (1) states:
The Commission shall report any breach of this Part (of the Act) to the appropriate Service Commission, Board of other Authority and to the Director of Public Prosecutions setting out such details and particulars as it thinks fit.