Padarath to repay Parliament $60,000 for hiring relative

By Gail Alexander
Sunday, March 20, 2016 – guardian.co.tt

ParliamentApart from Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, two other Opposition UNC MPs had relatives employed at their respective constituency offices in this current parliamentary term, and a third UNC MP still has a “distant” relative employed.

They are Princes Town MP Barry Padarath, Caroni Central MP Dr Bhoe Tewarie and Mayaro MP Rushton Paray.

Last Friday ILP leader Rekha Ramjit called on Persad-Bissessar to resign since Ramjit alleged it was “public knowledge” two of Persad-Bissessar’s nieces have been employed at her constituency office in Penal Junction for “well over a decade.”

Ramjit said parliamentary rules on constituency staff hiring made it clear MPs aren’t permitted to hire their relatives, and this includes nieces and nephews, as constituency office staff. Ramjit accused Persad-Bissessar of breaching the Integrity in Public Life law that deals with conflict of interest.

While Persad-Bissessar explained her situation at UNC’s Couva Congress yesterday, Princes Town MP Padarath said last month when he received the parliament’s manual on constituency office rules, he realised he’d have to act since a relative of his is employed at his constituency office.

Padarath declined to specify the relative, but said it was an immediate relative. He confirmed the person had been working at the office since he became MP. The monthly salary was $10,000.

Padarath said he was aware of the old rules, but when he got the new (2015-2020) constituency office handbook, he realised under rules for the current term, the relative couldn’t continue. “The person’s employment was terminated at the end of February.

“I also contacted the Clerk of the House on the matter and informed the Parliament I’ll be returning the salary which was paid to the person each month, so the total I’m repaying is about $60,000,”

Mayaro MP Paray said when he was elected MP last year, several people were already working at the Mayaro constituency office from the tenure of the previous MP Winston Peters. Paray said one employee was a distant relative of his—the daughter of his grandfather’s second wife.

He added, “I knew I had to be careful since when we got the manual, it stated relatives couldn’t be hired. I informed the Parliament and was told that because of the distance of the relationship between the employee and myself, they didn’t see it as a problem.”

Paray said the person was still employed at the constituency office, but is now only part-time, working three days a week.

Tewarie, who is overseas, confirmed a relative did work in his constituency office, but is no longer there. He didn’t reply to further queries.

Other UNC MPs—Roodal Moonilal, Ganga Singh, Ramona Ramdial, David Lee, Vidya Gayadeen-Gopeesingh, Christine Hosein, Dr Lackram Bodoe, and Suruj Rambachan—confirmed they didn’t have relatives working at their constituency offices. MPs Fuad Khan and Tim Gopeesingh have already said they didn’t have relatives employed. Among UNC MPs who served before, Moonilal, Rambachan and Ramdial said they hadn’t had relatives working at offices previously.

HIRING RULES

Parliament’s communication division yesterday clarified the constituency office hiring rules.

The Constituency Manual for the immediate past 10th Parliament (2010-2015) stated that MPs have the authority to employ, promote or terminate employees. Under Points to Note (Staff) it also stated MPs “should not hire members of their immediate family, (defined as spouse, children or parents) to work in their constituency office.”

Rules in the Constituency Handbook for the current 11th Parliament (2015-2020) are more specific. Under “Engagement of Constituency Office Staff” it states “Restriction on Employment of Relatives.”

The clause states that members are restricted from employing relatives as employees in their constituency offices. Relatives include the following individuals: (a) spouses; (b) co-habitants; (c) children/step-children/adopted children/ grandchildren; (d) parents/step-parents/grandparents; (e) siblings; (f) nephews/nieces; (g) uncles/aunts; (h) cousins.

KHAN TO KAMLA: STEP DOWN

?That’s PNM chairman Franklin Khan’s call to Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

Speaking after yesterday’s PNM general council meeting, he said in the same way Persad-Bissessar called for the firing of former minister Marlene McDonald for allegedly hiring her common-law spouse and his brother at her constituency office, Persad-Bissessar also needs to step down on the same basis.

“What is her position on her own challenges? She’s also accused of breaching parliament rules. She must make a statement the same way the Prime Minister acted on Ms McDonald,” Khan added.

“We understand she isn’t alone, current and past ministers also breached the code. There are backdated dismissal letters about people when Parliament adjudicated on her. I expect the same action the PM enacted with Ms McDonald.”

Several PNM MPs yesterday confirmed they didn’t have relatives working at constituency offices including MPs Adrian Leonce, Terrence Deyalsingh, Colm Imbert, Maxie Cuffie, Anthony Garcia and Faris Al-Rawi. Cuffie said since most PNM MPs are new, they studied the rules.

Source: www.guardian.co.tt/news/2016-03-19/padarath-repay-parliament-60000-hiring-relative

10 Responses to “Padarath to repay Parliament $60,000 for hiring relative”


  • Kamla: Family ‘properly employed’ by my office
    “I state categorically today, that no spouse of mine, children of mine or parents of mine have ever been employed at the constituency office.” This was received with a loud applause. However, she said, it was brought to her attention that those guidelines were changed after the elections in 2015.

    She said in addition to spouse, children and parents, the new guidelines included a category under relatives. Persad-Bissessar said, “There are two persons in my office who may fall as being hired under the category of relatives.” “The question arises whether having been employed by the regulations in place—the guidelines, 20 years ago, 14 years ago, right up until September—whether they (employees) now fall into these restricted categories. “To that end, having been brought to my attention, I have communicated with the Clerk of the House seeking clarification and advice on the changes in the guidelines, as to first state whether these employees should be terminated.”

    Additionally, Persad-Bissessar said she wanted to know whether any renumeration paid to them by the Parliament would have to be reimbursed from September. She also sought to find out what arrangements would be put in place for those who have been employed on a contiguous basis and were properly hired under the guidelines.
    Full Article : guardian.co.tt

  • This hiring of family members have always been with us. And it is good that we are changing the rules.

    However, the discussion started with a government house and the rules governing that remains the same. We have managed to change the conversation from the preferential treatment in the allocation of government housing to hiring of family members.

    By the way while a previous PM did not hire his spouse in his office he made her a minister in his government. I guess that is different.

  • This is a good move! Everyone who are in any position of power over the country.who knowingly hire family members. They should step down pronto and held responsible. Just like a police officer should treat a family or friend, if they commit a crime. This is why we have so much corruption! Nip it at the Bud! This will create an atmosphere of Trust! Thank you.

  • Somehow, I believe that the Marlene McDonald’s firing will serve as a catalyst for morality and ethics in public life in the future. I grew up believing that “a bad breeze never blows” and Marlene (although displaced by the efforts) will forever be the symbol of what we should look for in the people whom we hold in high esteem. I also believe that “empty vessels make the most noise” and that is what we are noticing here in the case of Pararath, Kamla and people like Rambachan. An underlying evidence that is hardly spoken about ON how people behave is RELIGION. It forms the rudimentary passage to how we accept and reject behavior. As can be seen, the past 5 to 6 years have highlighted what amounts to be the most corrupted acts of pillage of government funds, in the history of this country. Transfer of lands, unreasonable government spending, Sports (usually a low budget item of expenditure) given unusual high budget, just so money can be made available to spend. The christian church that has always been a bastion of hope for the poor and needy, has gone beneath it’s dignity to accept funding from a spend thrift government, for purposes that are yet to be explained. Every depart of government over spent monies with almost nothing to show for it. Minister who went into government as poor have amassed millions in that short period of time. A media that most people looked up to for information has turned into political arms of the political directorate. The Integrity Commission that should display and dispense with verdict of moral or immoral integrity, has itself become a questionable body of individuals whose integrity WE MUST ALL HAVE DOUBTS ABOUT. THE COURTS as body of professional interpreters of the law has a big question mark as to the quality of men and women we put there to maintain the integrity of the constitution. A Police Service where one has to ask the question “do I report a crime, and if I do, am I doing the right thing?” The trade unions where the leaders are greedy and care more for the enrichment of self than for the development of the country. A legislature that has been so degraded that it takes a woman like the present Speaker of the House to breathe new life into it’s authenticity. A health system where we have to wonder about the effectiveness of the practitioners of medicine – are they for real? can our pregnant women depend on them for a safe delivery? Whom do they serve?
    All of this amounts to performance based on how our behavioral patterns are formed. As Jerry Hussain has stated in one of his blogs, with the escalation and elevation of the hindu and muslim religions taking centre stage in our society, we have to take some steps to check the paths to where all this is leading us.
    Materialism has taken hold in our country. Nothing is sacred, everything has a price and everyone has a price. He, who was dependable yesterday, can be expected to act as informer for an evil cause today. As in the case of the woman reporter for the Express, who tried to turn the now Prime Minister into a rapist, only so that she could get a paltry contract for a million dollars. We have essentially lost our souls or have sold it to the devil for 30 pieces of silver. My brother always tell me that anything money can buy is CHEAP! No matter what the price, there is always some who is able to buy it. That makes the product CHEAP and those who sell are just as CHEAP. We Must re-visit our souls and THOSE WHO NOURISH IT – RELIGION to see how much harm is being done to this country. We must question those who are being put up to serve us as to who they REALLY ARE!
    I believe that the word of Frederick Douglas, the famous crusader for civil rights in the late nineteenth century, are true today as never before, WE MUST “AGITATE, AGITATE, AGITATE” to prevent the slide into the abyss.

  • The PNM are the authors of nepotism, even Franklin Khan who is demanding that Kamla step down, his wife received a $60 million contract just before the 2010 election.

    —Nepotism, Patrick Manning making his wife Hazel Manning a Minister
    —Granting Brian Manning a Gun License in 24 hours and disregarding all rules and procedures
    — Giving Brian Manning $9 million for a basketball competition
    — John Rahael as Minister of Agriculture lease a house and parcel of land belonging to Caroni 1975 Ltd. To his sister
    —- John Rahael as Minister of Health give his sons the contract to provide drugs for the CDAP programme
    —- Penelope Beckles father got CEPEP contracts while she was an MP
    — Barry Sinanan law firm get government briefs while he was speaker of the house
    — Patrick Manning rented a house from Lenny Saith brother for $38,000 per month while the Palace was building
    — Jerry Narace Company got the contract to provide insurance for T&TEC
    —- Kerwyn Garcia, husband of Christine Kangaloo, gets $530,000.brief from government
    —-PNM Chairman Franklyn Khan wife get a $60 million contract days before the 2010 election
    —$5 million worth of materials from the Tobago Hospital went to develop Dr. Keith Rowley wife private project

  • Mrs. Persad-Bissessar and her Opposition colleagues, should not be required to resign.

    I firmly believe that all men are equal but some are more equal than others.

  • “Other UNC MPs—Roodal Moonilal, Ganga Singh, Ramona Ramdial, David Lee, Vidya Gayadeen-Gopeesingh, Christine Hosein, Dr Lackram Bodoe, and Suruj Rambachan—confirmed they didn’t have relatives working at their constituency offices. MPs Fuad Khan and Tim Gopeesingh have already said they didn’t have relatives employed. Among UNC MPs who served before, Moonilal, Rambachan and Ramdial said they hadn’t had relatives working at offices previously.”

    I notice Gail did not ask the PNM MPs if they have family or relatives working for them. After all this started with Marlene hiring her live in lover for $13,000 per month. It is a known fact that the PNM good at sweeping dirt under the carpet. Please Gail stop this third world journalism and ask your friends if they are in compliance.

  • Everyone knows that the order of Hindutava is based on nepotism. No other Culture can compete it in that resppect.

    • Rodwell Paton this is what nepotism look like and they are all not your so call “Hinduvta”.

      Manning making his wife Hazel Manning a Minister
      —-Granting Brian Manning a Gun License in 24 hours and disregarding all rules and procedures
      —-Giving Brian Manning $9 million for a basketball competition ..(Has it start yet?)-
      —– $45 million secret skullarship fund
      —–John Rahael as Minister of Agriculture lease a house and parcel of land belonging to Caroni 1975 Ltd. To his sister
      —-John Rahael as Minister of Health give his sons the contract to provide drugs for the CDAP programme
      —-Penelope Beckles father got CEPEP contracts while she was an MP
      —-Barry Sinanan law firm get government briefs while he was speaker of the house
      —–Patrick Manning rented a house from Lenny Saith brother for $38,000 per month while the Palace was building
      —– Jerry Narace Company got the contract to provide insurance for T&TEC
      —- Kerwyn Garcia, husband of Christine Kangaloo, gets $530,000.brief from government
      —-PNM Chairman Franklyn Khan wife get a $60 million contract days before the 2010 election
      —-$5 million worth of materials from the Tobago Hospital went to develop Dr. Keith Rowley wife private project
      —- Robinson-Regis husband $50,000 per month job at B

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