You are here
Ramesh: PM knows THA deal legal
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar knew that there was nothing wrong with the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) entering into a Build Own Lease Transfer arrangement without the approval of the Finance Minister because she was part of a Cabinet that used the arrangement several times when the UNC was in office, says former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj.
Maharaj told the T&T Guardian that the UNC government between 1995 and 2001 used the BOLT arrangement and the Prime Minister was aware that BOLT was not subject to the rules of the Central Tenders Board.
“I am shocked that the Honourble Prime Minister would seek to bully the Tobago House of Assembly when she was a senior member of the Cabinet that used the BOLT arrangements and she as the former attorney general, as someone who acted as Prime Minister, knows fully well that the THA is within its rights to enter into the BOLT arrangement,” he said
Persad-Bissessar raised the issue in the House of Representatives during her contribution to the 2012/2013 budget debate. She threatened to stop the project and advised that she had referred the matter to Attorney General Anand Ramlogan for investigation.
“I am suggesting first of all that the projects—Milshirv and the projects with respect to the aquatic centre—be halted pending proper clarification and investigation. Secondly, the matters be referred to the Attorney General, the DPP and the Integrity Commission to be investigated,” Persad-Bissessar said in the Lower House. She also said she had asked the Finance Minister to conduct a central audit on the project.
Ramlogan said on Wednesday that he has sent the controversial deal involving the THA and Milshirv to the Integrity Commission, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard and acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams.
The AG accused the Chief Secretary of illegally entering into the deal.
“I have advised that the Minister of Finance bring a claim and file legal action against Mr London and the THA to seek a declaration of the court that Section 51 was violated and the action of Mr London and the THA was illegal to enter into that BOLT arrangement,” he said.
Ramlogan criticised the THA and London for what he said was a breach of Section 51 of the THA Act, which states that the Finance Minister, not the Chief Secretary, must approve the borrowing of loans for capital development. Maharaj said he was also surprised that the AG was unaware that there is a legal opinion from the former solicitor general, Senior Counsel Lynette Stevenson, who indicated that BOLT arrangements were not subject to Central Tenders Board rules.
He said he found it interesting that Ramlogan was once again familiar with criminal law, although he claimed to be ignorant of it when the Section 34 debacle was raised. Ramlogan told the Parliament he was referring the matter to the DPP and the Commissioner of Police to determine if there is a case for misbehaviour in public office.
“This matter has been referred to the Integrity Commission by the Office of the Attorney General and furthermore to the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Commissioner of Police for an immediate and urgent criminal investigation to see if there was misconduct in public office by Mr Orville London by entering into this sweetheart deal under the table,” Ramlogan said in the Senate during his contribution to the budget debate.
London is to hold a news conference at which he has promised to extensively deal with the matter.
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.