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London: Howai must wait for Milshirv papers
Finance Minister Larry Howai will have to wait a little longer than seven days for documents on the $143 million Milshirv office complex at Shirvan, Tobago. Howai wrote to Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Orville London last week asking for documents relating to the office complex being built for the assembly under a BOLT (build-own-lease-transfer) arrangement.
London said yesterday under the laws and the T&T Constitution the Finance Minister had no authority to instruct him to provide information within any timeframe. However, in the interest of public disclosure and since this particular transaction had generated so much discussion, he believed he had a responsibility to make the information available to the public and the minister.
London said he would send a letter to Howai today explaining that position and indicating that the various documents were being vetted by senior counsel and the THA’s senior state counsel, after which the information would be made available to the public and to him.
London also told yesterday’s weekly post-Executive Council media briefing the Integrity Commission had written to him asking for the documents on the Milshirv office complex be produced within seven days. He said the Integrity Commission had the legal authority to so instruct and that information would be made available to it within the seven days.
He added that the same information that was going to be made available in the public domain would be made available to the commission for its investigation. London said he wanted to make it clear the decision not to submit the documents within seven days to Howai was by no means intended to prevent the information from being made public.
“Quite the contrary. We want to ensure that at the same time the minister has the information, the public has the information,” London added.
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