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Registrar denies Gordon-Gafoor confrontation
Registrar of the Integrity Commission Martin Farrell denied yesterday there was a confrontation between the commission’s chairman Ken Gordon and suspended deputy chairman Gladys Gafoor. However, he admitted to hearing a “vague muttering of violence” from Gafoor at a meeting of the commission in January.
Farrell made the disclosure while testifying during Gafoor’s judicial review suit in the Port-of-Spain High Court. The matter is being heard before Justice Vasheist Kokaram who dismissed Gafoor’s parallel constitutional motion against President George Maxwell Richards in August.
Farrell, who attends the commission’s meetings as part of his official duties, was cross-examined by Gafoor’s attorney Clive Phelps. “Are you aware that at the meeting, Gordon raised his voice in a haughty manner at Gafoor?” Phelps asked. Farrell denied knowledge of Phelps’ accusation but described Gafoor’s behaviour at the meeting as “uncharacteristically belligerent.”
The meeting, in which Gafoor’s recusal from an investigation was discussed, is central to Gafoor’s claim against her fellow commissioners. She is challenging a decision by the commission, allegedly forcing her to recuse herself from an investigation involving former attorney general John Jeremie.
Gafoor, while testifying, said Jeremie made allegations he could not prove. According to the facts of the case, after the contentious meeting, Gordon, and two other commissioners who were present, wrote individual letters to Richards complaining of Gafoor’s behaviour. The commissioners were Prof Ann-Marie Bissessar and Neil Rolingston.
After receiving the letters in January, Richards suspended Gafoor and established a three-member tribunal to investigate the allegations. The tribunal’s activities have been put on hold while Gafoor’s lawsuits are being decided by the court. Her constitutional motion sought to challenge the steps taken by Richards but was dismissed. Kokaram’s judgment in that matter is currently under appeal by Gafoor.
The commission is being represented by Senior Counsel Deborah Peake and attorney Ravi Nanga while Mark Seepersad is also appearing for Gafoor. Gordon, Bissessar and Rolingston, who were all in court yesterday, are expected to testify when the trial continues today.
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