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Online petition against Mouttet
An online petition circulating on social media is calling on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to remove or revoke the appointment of businessman Christian Mouttet, as the sole investigator into the charter of the Cabo Star and Ocean Flower 11 vessels.
The procurement of vessels which were leased to the Port Authority of T&T by Canadian-based firm Bridgeman Services Group LP is now the subject of three investigations commenced by the Integrity Commission, the Port Authority of T&T and Mouttet .
The petition, which was started by Kendel Bhaggy and Suzette Lowe, began circulating on Tuesday, minutes after the PM hand- picked Mouttet for the task of gathering documents and conducting interviews and will deliver his findings to Cabinet and the PM in one month’s time.
Mouttet will get assistance from the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs in carrying out his duties.
Up to late yesterday, the petition had garnered over 300 signatures.
Once the petition reaches 500 signatures it will be sent to the Office of the Prime Minister.
In the petition, Bhaggy pointed out to Rowley that the people do not believe that the appointment of Mouttet was in the best interest of the country.
“Mouttet’s perceived affiliation to the PNM produces doubt in the minds of the people that this investigation will be for the purpose of getting to the truth behind the Bridgemans Services Group’s awarded contract,” Bhaggy wrote.
He suggested that the appointment of an independent forensic auditor should have been given the job instead of Mouttet.
Bhaggy said the people believed that there is a chance of a cover-up and the Government should not have taken this route.
“We are calling on you to remove or revoke the appointment of Mr. Mouttet and contract an independent forensic auditor to handle this investigation, in the best interest of the people and in the best interest of transparency.
We do not support your decision to appoint Mouttet as the sole investigator and we make that abundantly clear by putting forward this petition,” Bhaggy outlined in the petition to Rowley.
Many of the signatories expressed their feelings on the issue. Louwe stated she wanted justice as a taxpayer and that she was no longer accepting excuses from the Government to cover up their own.
Speaking with the T&T Guardian yesterday, Bhaggy said that while Mouttet may be an outstanding business man of great repute, he believes that Mouttet “has absolutely no authority to call on anyone to comply with an investigation and neither is he qualified in the area of forensic auditing or investigative processes.”
Bhaggy insisted that there was no political agenda as he and Louwe weren’t members of any particular party, “neither do we support the governing methods of either of the two main parties. We are ordinary citizens with the goal in mind to lobby for our politicians for change that positively affects the tax paying hard working citizens of this country.”
“The Government and all public officials are elected by the people and they must remember that they are accountable to the people.
The days of enriching friends of the party and those in the party at the expense of the taxpayers will no longer be tolerated.
We will continue to monitor the government and to bring to the public their questionable and corrupt practices. If those elected promised to remove corruption and are now part of the problem, it is now up to the right thinking citizens of this country to protect our country,” Bhaggy added.
In an interview hours after his name was announced by the Office of the Prime Minister as to investigate the procurement of the vessels, Mouttet defended his name saying he had not requested any payment for his services and saw no conflict of interest in pursuing the task.