Last update: 11-Dec-2013 6:16 am
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Hinds: I worked hard to build my house
Opposition Senator Fitzgerald Hinds yesterday gave details of how he acquired his Maraval home but at the same time called on his accuser, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, to disclose how he bought several multi-million dollar properties and a new custom-built Range Rover valued at $1.6 million. Hinds said he had written to the Integrity Commission on July 29 about Ramlogan’s new vehicle, a Range Rover V8, which carried the registration number PCX 2.
Speaking at a press conference, at the Office of the Opposition Leader, Charles Street, Port-of- Spain, Hinds said he was willing to make all records available in relation to his house and called on Ramlogan to do the same with respect to his multi-million-dollar properties and new Range Rover. Hinds says his Hillsboro, Maraval, house was built from hard work, sacrifice and no wrongdoing.
Ramlogan told Parliament last week Hinds was a “mocking pretender” who owned a posh house in Hillsboro worth $14 million but never allowed his constituents to visit him and swim in his pool. Hinds said yesterday he had bought the house through “sweat, hard work and prayer on the part of my family and I.”
He said he started working in 1976 when he became a police officer and was subsequently an insurance salesman, lawyer and politician. He was elected an MP in 1995 and was a junior minister in a former government for almost four years. Hinds said he and his wife purchased a piece of land in 1998 at Lot 11, Barry Avenue, Hillsboro, and the transaction was consummated in May 2001, via a loan from Eastern Credit Union. He said the land was then mortgaged in 2005.
“It took all of six years for me to construct that home. That home is still incomplete,” he added. Hinds said the so-called pool at his home was “still incomplete. I now have no swimming pool.” He said he purchased a commercial property on Abercromby Street, Port-of Spain, to house his law offices and the loan for that property was also from the Eastern Credit Union. Hinds said it was acquired in 2004 and the loan was repaid two months ago.
He said he bought a Prado SUV while he was a junior minister, which was paid for with a loan from the Parliament, then sold it in 2007 to finish building his house, which was completed in 2009/10. He pointed out that an Opposition MP was entitled to continue his practice and he did that unfailingly. Four months ago, through a loan from the Parliament, he purchased “a posh Cayenne vehicle” and that loan was now being serviced through the Parliament, he added.
Hinds said the Eastern Credit Union, First Citizens and the Parliament had full details of the transactions and the bank and the credit union have been authorised to “make available any or all of these records any time to any authorised police officer and any authorised officer of the Integrity Commission.” He added that all the properties had been consistently declared to the Integrity Commission on an annual basis but he had not declared the Cayenne yet because he acquired it this year.
He said the AG, with the help of a few strange friends in the media, made the statement to deflect questions raised about the management of his ministry.
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan in response said yesterday his statement in Parliament last week had nothing to do with the cost or value of Hinds’ house but related to the “humble’ public image he portrayed which was inconsistent with his life with the elite at Hillsboro.
Ramlogan said Hinds had asked youths in Laventille, Duncan Street, Nelson Street, Besson Street and Diego Martin to reject book bags and other school supplies from the United National Congress youth arm, while refusing to invite them to his Maraval home and offer them a meal. On his new car, Ramlogan said he has repeatedly spoken about it publicly and was “always happy to co-operate with any investigation on the issue.”
He said he never made any allegation of corruption against Hinds in his statement in Parliament.
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