Saturday, March 9, 2013

Let Carmona choose new Integrity Commission members

Newsday photo of President-elect Carmona, his wife Reema and their two children 
A report in the Newsday newspaper by Sean Douglas states that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has advised outgoing President George Maxwell Richards to let his successor select new members of the Integrity Commission.

Newsday says it has seen a letter on the matter from Persad-Bissessar to Richards and quotes sections of the letter.

The term of most commissioners ends three days before President Richards demits office, on March 17. Anthony Carmona will be sworn in as President on March 18.

Newsday says the letter titled “Re: Appointment of Members of the Integrity Commission of Trinidad and Tobago”, was dated March 5, 2013 and was signed by Persad-Bissessar. She was responding to correspondence sent by Richards.

Newsday quotes from her reply to Richards:

“Given the critical role of this Commission which will have even greater significance as my Government moves decisively to introduce procurement legislation which may well cater for the presidential appointment of a Procurement Legislator, and as well as our contemplation of the creation of an Anti Corruption Agency, it is my considered opinion that it may be more prudent and appropriate for the appointment of members of the Integrity Commission for a new term to be left to the discretion of the new President, who is himself well-versed in legal matters.”

Newsday also quotes from the letter, noting that Persad-Bissessar spoke about “internecine warfare” with the commission acted out in public. In that context, the paper says the PM wrote:

“There has been grave public disquiet and concern about the process for the selection of commissioners. It is necessary to rebuild and restore public confidence in the Integrity Commission...

“I note particularly that the term of office of the present Integrity Commission expires only three days before you demit office...I am sure your Excellency would not wish such appointments now, on the eve of a new President being sworn in, to cause undue media and public scrutiny, particularly at a time when you demit office after a decade of outstanding and distinguished service...

“It is not unlikely that such precipitous appointments by you may be interpreted as lacking confidence in our new President, whose selection has been widely acclaimed...

"It is imperative that comprehensive background checks and due diligence checks are conducted in relation to any person proposed as candidates...This is a process which is unlikely to be completed within the next 10 days before His Excellency demits office and President-elect Anthony Carmona assumes the duties of the President...

"Your Excellency may therefore wish to consider whether it would not be more prudent and appropriate for the process of appointment of Members to be initiated or continued by President-elect Carmona when he assumes office.”

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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