THA in the clear again
Insufficient grounds, says Integrity Commission
Irene Medina Associate Editor
The Integrity Commission (IC) has cleared the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) in two matters reported to it for investigation, the THA said in a statement yesterday.
In a third matter — the much-publicised multi-million-dollar Milshirv office complex — Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has withdrawn all his accusations before the court, which were also reported to the Commission.
IC registrar Martin Farrell informed THA Chief Secretary Orville London that the Commission had conducted an investigation into the community micro project programme, initiated by the Assembly between May 2008 and July 2009, and stated that “having examined all the evidence and legal submissions made by the concerned parties, the Commission has, in accordance with the provisions of Section 34(6) of the Integrity in Public Life Act Chapter 22:01 (the Act), determined that there are insufficient grounds for continuing this investigation and decided to terminate same”.
Similarly, the IC informed London that it had conducted an investigation of the alleged breach of the Integrity in Public Life Act by members of the Assembly relating to the proposed Bacolet Aquatic Centre and Indoor Sports Complex and, “having examined all the evidence and legal submissions made by the concerned parties, it has, in accordance with the provisions of Section 34(6) of the Act, determined that there are insufficient grounds for continuing this investigation and decided to terminate same”.
Section 34(6) of the Act states: “Where during the course of an investigation, the Commission is satisfied that there are insufficient grounds for continuing the investigation or that the complaint is frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith, it may terminate the investigation.”
In the case of Milshirv, the IC noted that the Attorney General had withdrawn all his allegations in the judicial review hearing before the Port of Spain High Court and instead asked that the court give an interpretation of the law.
In disclosing these developments at yesterday’s post-Executive Council media briefing, London recalled that the Assembly’s position on Milshirv over the past months was exactly what the AG had requested before the court and basically there was no reason to cast aspersions on the character and integrity of the individuals involved.
According to London: “It was a matter after the Assembly received legal opinion in the way that the Act should be interpreted and the actions that can be taken by the Assembly. The AG took a different view, as it was his right, and decided to politicise the issue and to use it to denigrate the characters of people.”
He added: “All that had to be done was to ask the court for an interpretation of the law, as had been done on five previous occasions, involving various central governments and the Assembly.
This was in that silly season and now things have settled down good sense has prevailed and we await the decision of the court.”