The Congress of the People (COP) to which former minister Mary King belongs has called for the Integrity Commission to intervene and launch a full investigation into King's alleged wrongdoing. COP chairman Joseph Toney confirmed this after a meeting of the 15-member COP executive with King yesterday. COP leader Winston Dookeran was absent because of business, Toney said. He said the 11 am meeting was held at COP's Charlieville office for King to give her views to her party. King was accompanied by her husband, Dr St Clair King. On Monday, before the news of revocation of King's appointment broke, COP's executive which discussed the matter on Monday, had stated that the commission should probe the issue.
COP had suggested that King should "stand down" from the portfolio, pending the outcome of the review. COP also stated that that position had been conveyed to the Prime Minister.
Yesterday, after revocation of King's appointment, COP again called for Integrity Commission intervention.
"This is not a situation of which COP is proud...It's not a pleasant thing to have someone's appointment revoked," Toney said. "We spoke at length with Mrs King today, she gave her views both on the issue and the Express article which dealt with it. "We feel in the circumstances, it's a matter which the Integrity Commission should look into. "Of course, Mrs King feels she has not done anything wrong and we felt, given her strong views on that ground, it's a matter for the commission to handle. "We'd want to hear what the commission has to say on this...We haven't arrived at any conclusion whether she is guilty or innocent.
"We asked her many questions and she produced documents to support what she said."
Toney said King remained a COP member. Yesterday, COP MP Anil Roberts, who had called on King to resign, said:
"It's indeed a sad day that it had to come to this, especially for somebody of the calibre of Mrs King who has always championed the cause of transparency, propriety, accountability and integrity." "It baffles me to understand how someone of her stature could make such a basic ABC mistake on non-disclosure, being present at the opening of bids and appointing a personal assistant on an evaluation committee," he said.
"It's also a sad day for politicians and people who try to serve...We, myself included, must a take lesson from this and never get arrogant, over-confident or lax in any way. "We must ensure the awesome responsibility on our shoulders, including to protect the public purse. Government senator Patrick Watson, who knows both King and her husband well, said before yesterday's Senate:
"We're (COP) not very happy, we view ourselves as a champion of anti-corruption.
"If someone has been accused of improper behaviour in office, we feel the person should resign and that's what we call for," he said. Watson said he had great regard for Professor St Clair King's work at UWI, and that has not changed."