Thursday, November 1, 2012

Letter: Ken Gordon compromised his position and must resign

"A picture is worth a thousand words" and, "You never get a second chance to create a first impression!"?While the western world was fixated on the gruesome news emanating in Frankenstorm's destructive wake, quietly, almost imperceptibly, a Frankenstein spawned right here, in our own waters, so to speak: in case you missed it, Orville London got an undeserved endorsement from an institution that has been called upon to investigate him.

One of our local dailies carried a full-page ad about the 2012 "Do Right Champions" competition which the Integrity Commission of Trinidad and Tobago (ICTT) recently launched in Tobago. 

The ad prominently splashed a half-page sized colour photo of a beaming Chief Secretary, Orville London; he was seated, almost casually, next to a somewhat casually-dressed "Kenneth Gordon" (looked like he was wearing a blazer). Both men bore pleased-as-Punch expressions; above their heads were emblazoned two lines:
THA Secretary to Integrity Commission:
Demystify and humanise

The setting and wording of the ad immediately created the impression of some existing chummy relationship between both gentlemen, so chummy, they weren't afraid to display it in public. 

But, whoa! That was yesterday! 

Today (October 31st 2012), the same daily carries a full-page story pointing out that, since October 24th 2012, the Honourable Attorney General, Anand Ramlogan, had written and forwarded a detailed complaint to the Integrity Commission and the Acting Police Commissioner concerning the same man whose company "Kenneth Gordon" seems to be enjoying. ("Kenneth Gordon" is a stiff way of referring to Ken Gordon, the Chairman of the ICTT.)

The ICTT's website informs that the ICTT "receives and investigates complaints regarding any alleged breaches of the Act or any suspected offence committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act" and that the ICTT encourages citizens to be scrupulously clean in their private and public conduct:

"Integrity has to do with the quality of a person’s character, the moral values, the ethical behaviour that guides a person’s actions, regardless of the situation or the consequences. In other words, it is telling oneself that – at all times and in all situations - I will conduct my life on the basis of principled behaviour. I will do it even if there’s no one watching...Don’t refuse to cooperate with the Authorities with regard to wrong doing."

Both Ken Gordon and Orville London are citizens; the advice inescapably pertains to them.

The ICTT website also says:

"The independence of the Commission is made clear in Section 5 (2) (a) of the Act which states that, “In the exercise of its powers and performance of its functions under this Act, the Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.”

In other words, the ICTT Chairman cannot be emotional or partisan in anything it does or appears to do. However, sometimes ill-informed independence tends to cause horses to bolt out of control (maybe that's why when you click on the "Who does the Commission report to?" link, a blank page appears).

The obvious, unavoidable implication of the above is that no official of the ICTT can fraternize unseemly or give the impression of unseemly fraternizing with anyone who he/she has (or may have) to investigate. 

Whether or not, therefore, the Honourable Attorney General had written to the ICTT concerning Dr London, in my view the ICTT Chairman was ethically wrong to involve himself with the Chief Secretary as the ad clearly indicates, for, on the face of it, the ad conveys an endorsement of the Chief Secretary by the ICTT (the ad, after all, is not the Chief Secretary's output: it is the ICTT's and was broadcast after the THA was dissolved in anticipation of upcoming THA elections).

The ICTT Chairman, Ken/Kenneth Gordon has therefore openly compromised (or allowed to be compromised) both himself and the ICTT! In the interest of fairness, I call on him to resign immediately; if not, for the President to revoke his appointment without undue delay!

Heston Corbie | 69 Prizgar Lands, Laventille.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai