Home / View Point / Letters to the Editor / Fixin’ T&T: Excuses by Kamla and Padarath for hiring relatives is insulting

Fixin’ T&T: Excuses by Kamla and Padarath for hiring relatives is insulting

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.

Photo: Opposition Leader and ex-Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. (Copyright AFP 2014/Frederic Dubray)
Photo: Opposition Leader and ex-Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Frederic Dubray)

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).

Photo: Princes Town MP Barry Padarath. (Courtesy TTonline.org)
Photo: Princes Town MP Barry Padarath.
(Courtesy TTonline.org)

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.

Photo: Former Housing Minister and Port of Spain South Marlene McDonald. (Courtesy LoopTT)
Photo: Former Housing Minister and Port of Spain South Marlene McDonald.
(Courtesy LoopTT)

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.

Photo: Caroni MP Bhoe Tewarie. (Courtesy Planning.Gov.TT)
Photo: Caroni MP Bhoe Tewarie.
(Courtesy Planning.Gov.TT)

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.

About Fixin 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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195 comments

  1. WHEN WILL WE GET SERIOUS…WHEN!

  2. Have you seen Fixin’ T&T on every TV station and on every Newspapers calling for Kamla’s resignation as opposition leader in like fashion as it was calling for Marlene’s head?(rhetorical) Then pray tell how is Fixin’ T&T targeting Kamla et al?(rhetorical) steupsssssssss!

  3. At least seventy percent of those employed in the public service and state enterprises, got their job through who they knew most of all politicians have had the greatest influence in the prejudiced employment practices from the time of Eric.
    So when and how can that type of nefarious conduct be stopped?

  4. 1. The new rules came into effect after the GE of 2015.
    2. The MPs were not aware of the change in rules which now included relatives.
    3. When the rules were sent to MPs (in February), Padarath dismissed his relative and sought to repay the money paid (an honourable gesture).
    4. Parah’s relative is more of a ‘pumpkin vine family’ and was not considered a relative by the Clerk of the House, therefore he was not in breach. She was the daughter of his grandfather’s second wife.
    5. KPB’s two relatives worked at her Office for 20 and 14 years respectively. Having found out very late, were they to be dismissed contrary to Industrial Relations principles which stipulate that if changes to persons’ occupation are made, the changes should not be disadvantageous to the employee? After working for 20 years all of a sudden someone suddenly ( without consultation or notice) changes the regulations.
    6. Who amended the rules, and did they issue notice of the amendments to the MPs. Were they authorised so to do?
    7. If Parliament hired the ‘relatives’ in the Constituency Offices under the recommendation of the MPs, is there an application form, and is it stated on the form that relatives are no longer qualified for the positions?

    Someone in the Office of the Parliament either erred or did mischief. Was it done deliberately?

  5. Well everything is alleged until somebody bring proof eh. And tong say is not proof

  6. Don’t thrown in the world ‘Alleged’ now. When it was against Marlene McDonald that word was absent!

  7. Like by mistake this red and ready GOVT changing some rules to suite them. When they were in opposition they came up against everything even now when the shoe on the other foot they still agreeing with the wrong .We are a country in crisis and need to seek God in every thing Too much racism on either side. Right now we don’t know if the country going or coming as for me and my house I will serve the Lord he is the way maker. We too far from The Almighty Father. Take heed pop.

  8. You people here need help serious help

  9. On what basis was Marlen Mc Doogle fired? Did Dr. Rowley state exactly what – in his opinion – she did wrong?

    Upon receiving info on that question, then can other MPs be looked at for equality of treatment.

    This is so because the MPs did not hire their family members, Parliament did. The persons employed were payed by Parliament and it is Parliament who is considered to be their employer. They would have been hired based upon the recommendation of the MP’s Office, and it cannot be proved – to this point – that the MP recommended the person. Even if they did, does that fall under any of the subsections of the IPLA?

    Further, the term family member should be looked at. It was only after the 2015 General Elections that the regulations for employing persons at the Constituency Offices were amended to include relatives. the definition of family and relative differs.

    Based upon this ‘very light’ analysis, could Fixin T&T state exactly which subsection of the law any of the MPs (including Marlene Mc D.) is suspected of having breached? Quoting the law and saying ‘someone broke it’ does not mean that a good case was made out.

    It is ironic though, to hear the PNM state that KPB should “do the honourable thing and resign.” Does that mean that M Mc D. was not being honourable because she did not resign? It can be proved that for 20 years the relative of KBP was actually working there, often times for very long hours, is there evidence that Lennox Carew or Michael C did any work for their pay? Wasn’t Lennox Carew out of the Country for a long period? Did he collect a salary during that time? Wasn’t the Carews being paid more than the stipulated maximum for an employee at the Constituency Office? Even if they were being paid for work done, was the MP fired based upon this? What exactly did she do that caused her dismissal Dr Rowley? The money to the Foundation and the HDC house seemed to be the more likely reason, but she was not fired for that.

  10. “Karma comes after everyone eventually….I don’t care who you are. …What goes around comes around….That’s how it works…Sooner or later the universe will serve you the revenge that you deserve.

  11. D ting now start.. popcorn out..

  12. And “no” Darryl Smith, I’m not saying Barry reminds me of a female tennis player. I’m referring to both being caught in skullduggery. That’s all! (Phew!)

  13. Vernal, Barry reminded me of Maria Sharapova with that excuse. Problem is he didn’t check to see if it worked for Sharapova before he tried it! Hahaha.

  14. Yes and there will be PNM minions who will try to spin things the next way…..its really up to the intelligent and objective people to try to ask the right questions and to seek the truth. This is what the media as the 4th estate should do…the role it should fill….that aside as of this point we do not know what Ms. Mcdonald was SPECIFICALLY fired for as the PM failed to clearly indicate.

  15. Ah know UNC minions will try to spin this as the government secretly changing the rules in order to catch the Opposition unaware of their being out of compliance.

  16. Before we go eh, let us remind ourselves that these rules apply to MPs on both government as well as opposition benches…..and that it led to the sacking of a cabinet minister by the government for breaching these revised rules.

  17. 2. Under the old rules were the persons employed by the Opposition leader and anyone else legal and in complinace with the then rules.3. Who changed the rules and why? 4. What contingency was made for persons previuously employed under the old rules who would have been affected by the new rules? 5. What is the stipulated penalty for breaching these rules?

  18. September 2015, right when Barry assumed office as MP for Princes Town.

  19. 1. Were the rules for employing persons in fact changed? If so when?