If the contents of the Lindquist Report were not so serious, we would be having great fun with the weird and inane response of Attorney General Kamla Persad-Bissessar. But then, what can we really expect from an AG whose government has been exposed for perpetrating a monumental $1.4 billion fraud on the people of Trinidad and Tobago? The Panday regime cannot refute the damning facts contained in the report, they have no honest answer to the overwhelming evidence of massive corruption in this notorious project, so they must now rely on nonsensical diversions which would be quite laughable if the matter concerned were not so grave and far reaching.
Speaking to an election meeting at Dow Village on Wednesday night, Mrs Persad-Bissessar sought to discredit the Lindquist Report by claiming that the contracts to engage the forensic accountant and attorney Karl Hudson Phillips QC to assist him were not put out for public tender. According to the law, she said, if the price of a contract is above a certain amount, "then you have to go through something called the Central Tenders Board." Accordingly, the AG announced that she had written to the Director of Contracts to find out how many bids had been received and how Mr Lindquist and Mr Hudson Phillips were chosen for this assignment.
Mrs Persad-Bissessar has taken part in comic episodes on the political stage before, but her performance at Dow Village on Wednesday night must qualify her for a starring role at the hilarious Yangatang tent this coming Carnival. The scenario she expected from her predecessor would be sure to bring the house down. Invitations would be issued for open tender bids to undertake a sensitive and detailed investigation into a major corruption scandal and also for the position of an eminent legal advisor. Quite likely she would expect to see distinguished attorneys such as Mr Tajmool Hosein QC, Mr Hudson Phillips QC, Mr Selby Wooding QC, Mr Russel Martineau SC, Mr Bruce Procope QC, Mr Martin Daly SC, Mr Desmond Allum, SC, Mr Stanley Marcus SC, Mr Fenton Ramsahoye SC and others rushing to place their bids for either of these two contracts. Could anything be more ridiculous? Does she really believe people can be fooled with such nonsense?
But the Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago is deadly serious. She questions the appointment of Mr Robert Lindquist who happens to be an internationally respected forensic accountant, the man the NAR government had engaged to investigate the corruption scandals surrounding the PNM's John O'Halloran and Francis Prevatt, an assignment which resulted in the retrieval by TT of a considerable sum of money.
Reflecting the desperation of a government mired in a morass of corruption, Mrs Persad-Bissessar proceeds with the farce by accusing this newspaper of acting irresponsibly by publishing parts of a leaked and interim report and thereby threatening to compromise and prejudice the investigation of the Integrity Commission.
It grieves us to have to reply to this kind of folly from the country's Attorney General. A leaked report? The fact is that the Prime Minister had a copy of the Lindquist Report since January 2001 and did nothing about it. In fact, Mr Panday knew what the report contained even when he was opening the controversial facility at Piarco and eulogising those involved in its construction.
An incomplete report? The fact is the Prime Minister ignored a request from the former AG for funds to permit Mr Lindquist to carry on with his investigations. Compromising the Integrity Commission probe? Well that is totally absurd. As for our acting irresponsibly, what else could the Minister say? We have a responsibility to the people of TT to tell them the truth, to expose corruption wherever it exists. If in executing that mission we anger the AG, then so be it. A Yangatang star is born.
|NOTE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 this material is distributed without profit or payment to those
who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material
from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. |