Find the snitch
Ramnarine: Someone leaking info to the Opposition...
Anna Ramdass firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a snitch in the Energy Ministry who is leaking confidential information to the Opposition People’s National Movement (PNM).
As such, Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine has written to the ministry’s permanent secretary Selwyn Lashley asking that a probe be conducted and a report delivered by September 27.
Confidential documents and information leaked within the past week were the minister’s speaking notes and the agreement between Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela with respect to the Loran Manatee gas field.
Last week, during his contribution to the 2013-2014 budget debate, PNM Diego Martin North East MP Colm Imbert indicated that he had in his possession the speaking notes prepared by the ministry’s Energy Research Planning Department for Ramnarine.
On the heels of this, Ramnarine wrote to the ministry’s permanent secretary asking that an investigation be conducted as to how such information could have landed in Imbert’s hands.
The Express understands that Ramnarine stated that the leaking of the notes was embarrassing to the ministry and was in breach of the Public Service Code of Conduct Regulation 138 (1).
Speaking to the Express by phone yesterday, Ramnarine confirmed that he did instruct that an investigation be launched in the matter.
“I can confirm that I did write to the permanent secretary to investigate how those speaking notes which I didn’t use ended up with Mr Imbert,” said Ramnarine.
Ramnarine pointed out that also of concern was how Opposition chief whip Marlene McDonald got a copy of the confidential agreement between Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela with respect to the Loran Manatee gas field.
This agreement was in focus during the budget debate in the Lower House as the Opposition claimed that this country sold out and entered into an agreement in which Venezuela was the main benefactor, which the Minister and Government refuted.
“It is very disconcerting that these documents have been leaked. We (the ministry) are custodians of the country’s repository of energy history, such as seismic data, contracts, licences. If these two documents could be leaked over a one-week period, who knows what else could be compromised,” said Ramnarine.
He stressed that the Energy Ministry deals with “sensitive information”, including copies of all LNG contracts, production-sharing contracts, even contracts that have not yet been signed, and it was worrisome that these documents could find their way into the public domain.
“It is of great concern that sensitive information can now be haemorrhaging into the hands of politicians. One wonders how long this has been happening and who is at the centre of it. Today it’s a treaty between Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago and speaking notes, tomorrow it could be a highly-confidential contract,” said Ramnarine.
The Minister said he intends to also request that the permanent secretary look into how the agreement between Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela was leaked.
Ramnarine said the Ministry has put safeguards in place to prevent any further documents from being leaked.