The advertisement featuring the photograph of Tobago Chief Secretary Orville London and Integrity Commission chairman Kenneth Gordon was no political conspiracy but an ill-timed coincidence.
This according to Gordon, who told the Express on Wednesday that the public relations team of the Integrity Commission had planned the advertisement in advance of the dissolving of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) last week.
The full-page newspaper ad from the Integrity Commission featured London and Gordon sitting next to each other and is headlined "THA Secretary to Integrity Commission: Demystify and humanise".
The advertisement provides information on the Commission's launch of its 2012 competition for primary and secondary schools on the theme of integrity.
London is quoted in the ad saying that the Integrity Commission is "making a genuine effort to demystify and humanise itself" and the THA remains "heartened by the response of school principals and students''.
Vice chairman of the Equality Council of Trinidad and Tobago Barrington "Skippy" Thomas, a known United National Congress Tobago representative, wrote a letter of complaint against Gordon to President George Maxwell Richards on Tuesday taking issue with the ad.
Thomas noted that there were matters before the Integrity Commission involving the THA which were raised by Sport Minister Anil Roberts.
"Unfortunately the Integrity Commission advertisement in the newspapers telegraphs a coded message to the population that the Commission is or has endorsed the Orville London administration. It has further been drawn to my attention that Mr Gordon has been frequenting Tobago with a ferocious intensity in the build up to the THA Elections and as such this only further cements the perception that the Commission has endorsed and supports the London PNM THA Administration. I cannot recall at any time in the past the Chairman of the Integrity Commission appearing with the Minority Leader of the TOP, or Political Leader of the UNC or COP on the eve of an election. As such I will like to call upon you to take immediate action on this matter so that the integrity of the Integrity Commission is not further compromised," stated Thomas.
In response, Gordon, in a telephone interview with the Express said the Integrity Commission launched its competition this year in Tobago.
While in Tobago, the Commission also gave out the prizes to the winners of last year's competition and also discussed with the THA, the recommendations being made for the Integrity in Public Life Act.
Gordon said a number of photographs were taken at the events.
"When Mr London was speaking he made the comment that the Integrity Commission was demystifying and was working to humanise its image".
Gordon said the quote "seems to us to be of some value that he was recognising that we were trying to let people understand what we are doing. Quite frankly the thing never cross my mind when it was being done, perhaps there could have been a little more sensitivity on our part," said Gordon.