SENIOR Counsel Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj has knocked the government for what he said is its failure to observe high standards of conduct in public life.
"It was bad under Manning, very bad but what is happening under this administration makes what Manning did look like a teaparty,"said Maharaj. His comment prompted loud applause from several CLICO Executive Flexible Premium Annuity policyholders who were gathered for a meeting at the Plaza de Montrose, in Chaguanas yesterday morning.
Under the Partnership government there has been a marked deterioration of standards of conduct in public life, said Maharaj.
"The public perception is that there is the belief in government that the government treasury belongs to it and not to the people and that nothing is wrong for the government to have conflicts of interest in its execution of duties. There has been a heightened public perception of corruption in governance, this is supported by the latest transparency international report of corruption in Trinidad and Tobago," said Maharaj who earlier commented that he has no ambition to return to politics and is enjoying private practice. Maharaj was Attorney-General in the former United National Congress (UNC) administration.
Maharaj said aside from former government senator David Abdulah, others preferred to hold onto their ministerial portfolios rather than stand up to "kill the cancer which is eating away the soul of the nation".
"The sad thing about it is that with the exception of Abdulah, no one in the government has been prepared to stand up for the principles of the manifesto or the election contract to the people. Not one of them. They are not putting country first, they are afraid to lose their ministerial portfolios," he said.
The result said Maharaj is that youths are beginning to view corrupt standards as the norm. He said the time has come for people to protect their democracy.
"Until we as a people decide that a strong stance needs to be taken against corruption, we will continue to suffer and not leave anything for future generations. We have to ensure that government upholds the highest standards of conduct in public office or else corruption will be the cancer that eats away the soul of the nation," said Maharaj.
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