You are here
Chairman: Leakages can compromise confidentiality (with CNC3 video)
Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) chairman Danny Solomon is insisting that even though the authority is a statutory body, its commercial transactions must be done in confidentiality. Premature disclosure could affect the outcome of negotiations. But members of the public can access information on the transactions afterwards, through the Freedom of Information Act, he said.
Giving an example, he said, “The authority was negotiating a lease transaction. This negotiation was expected to be confidential. When the lease is executed and registered the public can access it through the Freedom of Information Act. “During the time of negotiations there were stories in the Guardian on that particular transaction...This could have created problems,” he said.
Solomon made the disclosures yesterday in a T&T Guardian interview, along with CDA acting CEO Joycelin Hargreaves. He had previously been unwilling to talk to T&T Guardian reporters, but yesterday line minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie said he would ask Solomon to make himself available.
Solomon answered questions on allegations that the CDA had obtained the telephone records of a Sunday Guardian reporter from the Telecommunications Service of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) in a bid to find out who in the CDA leaked information to her.
Seven of the CDA’s nine board members, via a disclaimer, distanced themselves from any attempt to request any telephone records. Only Solomon and Christopher Street did not sign the disclaimer. Hargreaves also gave her side of the story yesterday. She said the CDA ha not requested from TSTT the records of any journalist.
“There have been leakages of confidential information which could only have emanated from within the CDA, and the authority took a decision as early as May to investigate these leaks, which had the potential to compromise sensitive business negotiations and do harm to the commercial interests of the authority.”
Protecting the confidentiality of its business and internal affairs is good corporate governance and prudent management, Hargreaves insisted. “The CDA has to protect its interests and if damaging leaks have been identified, it would seem to me the clear first step in the internal investigation would be to examine our own records, which is what we have done...I clearly see this as prudent and reasonable management,” she said.
“The authority, like any other business entity, has every right to protect the confidentiality of its business and its internal affairs and to do so is not only consistent with good corporate governance, but the CDA is mandated by it.
“In the same way that the press is free to investigate, and to do so by whatever lawful means are available to it, to the same extent a corporate entity is entitled to protect the confidentiality of its commercial and internal managerial affairs by whatever lawful means that are available and appropriate.”
Asked why seven board members seemed to be against him, Solomon said, “I am not aware anyone is against me. “All issues are ventilated fully in our board meetings and every member has an opportunity to air his view, and sometimes this may take many hours, but I am proud to say that 99 per cent of the time our decisions are unanimous,” he said.
Told that a board member claimed statutory meetings were suspended and members were left in the dark about key decisions, he replied that operational issues were for management. “I want to emphasise that the board is engaged in matters of policy and not the operational issues of the organisation, which is for management,” Solomon said.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.