NO STRANGER TO CONTROVERSY: Ishwar Galbaransingh

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Lavish wedding for Galbaransingh’s son

By By Denyse Renne denyse.renne@trinidadexpress.com

The son of United National Congress financier Ishwar Galbaransingh yesterday exchanged vows with his new bride in the presence of several Government ministers in Tobago.

Married yesterday at St Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Scarborough, Tobago were Syam Galbaransingh and Melanie Moses.

The reception was held at the Le Grand Courlan resort at Stonehaven Bay. The resort and spa is owned by the Galbaransingh family.

The younger Galbaransingh is the general manager of Millennium Metal Ltd.

Several Government ministers attended the lavish wedding in the sister isle.

The ministers started arriving at the ANR International Airport shortly after 7 a.m. and stayed at the Coco Reef Resort and the Magdalena Grand Beach Resort at Lowlands.

During the wedding ceremony officiant Father Emmanuel Pierre delivered a short message from Pope Francis from the Vatican who offered blessings on the occasion of the couple’s marriage.

Among the 900 guests at the wedding and reception were former prime minister Basdeo Panday, former works minister Carlos John, former finance minister Brian Kuei Tung, Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh, Trade Minister Vasant Bharath, Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal, Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj, Environment Minister Ganga Singh, Transport Minister Chandresh Sharma, businessman Junior Sammy, Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner, and businessman Steve Ferguson.

The reception was elaborate and lavish with premium drinks and champagne flowing.

Sources say also in attendance were the individuals charged with corruption coming out of the Piarco International Airport project.

The senior Galbaransingh is no stranger to controversy, as he, along with Ferguson were among the recipients of the now repealed Section 34 legislation.

In 2012, the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act 2011 was proclaimed by then president George Maxwell Richards in a move to end preliminary enquiries in the local courts. Certain parts of the Act were supposed to come into effect on January 1 last year.

The president’s proclamation was gazetted on August 30, 2012. With the Act in effect, the Preliminary Enquiry Act would have been replaced and nullified the need for a preliminary enquiry to be held in relation to matters filed indictably.

However, the act bore a controversial clause-Section 34(2)-which stated that if after ten years the case wasn’t heard, the accused could apply to a judge to have the charges dismissed. This clause would have seen Galbaransingh and businessman Steve Ferguson and several other supporters of the Government escaping the law. The controversial Section 34 was subsequently repealed and then minister of justice Herbert Volney who was fired after Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar accused him of “misleading Cabinet.”

Galbaransingh and Ferguson, are still wanted in the United States on a series of money laundering charges. The two were first indicted in 2005 in a Miami Federal Court on numerous fraud and money laundering charges, stemming from alleged bid rigging between 1996 and 2005 on contracts for the Piarco International Airport.

Last year High Court judge Justice Mira Dean-Armorer, in a 175-page ruling dismissed constitutional motions filed by Ferguson, Ameer Edoo and the companies regarding the repeal of Section 34.

The men appealed the ruling. That judgment is yet to be delivered. 

—Additional reporting by Elizabeth Williams

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