Wednesday, January 17, 2018

TOP raises questions on two wanting probe


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Do not throw stones when you live in glass houses.

This is how the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP), led by Ashworth Jack, has fired back at those posing questions to the Integrity Commission about Jack's house, saying they themselves have questions to answer with respect to their integrity.

Tobagonian Moses O Thomas had made an official request to the Integrity Commission to investigate the land on which Jack built his home and a vehicle which he claimed was owned by Jack.

Thomas, who is employed as the field liaison officer for the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Orville London, had asked the commission to review Jack's declaration of income, assets and liabilities for the years 2001-2008, which he felt were "inconsistent".

The Integrity Commission has dismissed Thomas's request for an investigation, and the commission's chairman, Ken Gordon, had told the Express Jack would not be investigated unless and until a request came to the commission as an official query.

Following Thomas's call for a probe, another Tobagonian, Goslyn Loraine, political activist and coordinator of Tobago's Unemployment Relief Programme (URP), has raised the issue of the acquisition of the land and construction of Jack's house with the Registrar of the Integrity Commission, Martin Farrell.

The Express has reported exclusively that in a letter dated December 18, 2012, to the commission, Loraine raised four concerns to determine whether Jack had acquired his property by "fraudulent or corrupt means".

The commission, in its response to Loraine, dated January 3, 2013, invited him to tell all in a meeting with its director of investigations, Richard Frederick.

Loraine is yet to meet with Frederick, as he told the Express he needed more time to provide the information requested.

Speaking at a public meeting at Mount Moriah, Tobago, on Thursday night, TOP candidate for Plymouth/Golden Lane Certica Williams-Orr said she was "vex" over this development, and more so by those posing questions to the Integrity Commission.

"...What bothers me is the individual who had the gumption to ask questions about the house Jack built, Moses Thomas. I want to ask a question, whether it was the same Moses Thomas who asked questions about Jack's integrity to the Integrity Commission is the same Moses Thomas who I am advised that he is out on bail for fraud charges. Is it the same Moses Thomas?" asked Williams.

Waving a document in the air, Williams-Orr questioned whether Thomas was the beneficiary of a contract to the tune of $75,000 (which was not tendered) "to cut, clear and remove bush, clean and unclog drains" at Milford Court.

"When you shake a peas tree, every pod does rattle; so when they trouble meh leader, they trouble me too. I does take offence!" Williams-Orr said.

She then turned her attention to Loraine, whom she claimed had sent home a number of people working under URP without reason.

"Goslyn Loraine has to sing for his supper and he has to sing for a couple days well because, come January 22, he will [have] a different principal to report to and report he will have to report... I worked in HR and my heart is filled with the number of persons who have been coming, crying for Goslyn Loraine's name in their mouth. How many of you in this crowd have been sent home unceremoniously without disciplinary action?" asked Williams-Orr.

"Let us get this straight. We not going to worry about the house that Jack has built. We not going to worry about those who have asked questions. What I want to ask to you tonight, the PNM (People's National Movement) has shown to us that their campaign is falling apart, they have no issue," she added.

The TOP, she said, has come too far now to lose the election battle. "Do not let them break us at this time!" she urged. See Page 7.