People's National Movement (PNM) Chief Whip Marlene McDonald is under attack by a secret group named TnT Whistleblower. The group, claiming to be supportive of the PNM, has e-mailed party leader Dr Keith Rowley, threatening to go public with a series of allegations against McDonald.The Sunday Guardian understands that this matter was already raised at the Integrity Commission. The Sunday Guardian was also informed that the matter had been re-opened and was currently under investigation.
The list of allegations e-mailed to Rowley includes her involvement in a "fake NGO (non-governmental organisation)" called Calabar Foundation, which the group claimed is headed by McDonald's common-law husband, his brother and a colleague at the Diego Martin Credit Union.
Checks with the Companies Registry show that the name search for the Calabar Foundation was done on July 14, 2010, and it was registered on August 24, 2010, listing Michael Carew, Lennox Carew and Victor McEachrane. The registered office for Calabar Foundation is the same as Michael Carew's listed address on the documents.The list of allegations is supported by copies of registration documents, an excerpt of the Hansard and photocopies of cheques.
In the letter to Rowley, the group also details that a $375,000 cheque was prepared on May 12, 2012, for Calabar Foundation, but on the supporting documents the date May 12, 2012, was scratched off and 2010 was scribbled in.Despite the sloppy nature of the work, the cheque details were also sent to Rowley as part of the mounting evidence against McDonald.This letter comes after McDonald was openly challenged for the Port-of-Spain East constituency candidacy.
In the Hansard dated October 18, 2011, during the Approriation to the Budget debate, McDonald named McEachrane as part of the reformed Financial Assistance Programme. In the Hansard text, McDonald is noted as saying that that scholarship programme was temporarily closed until late January 2008."As minister, I closed that programme. The reason I closed it is because I needed to get a better understanding of what the programme actually involves," McDonald said on parliamentary record then.
"It also gave me the opportunity to put in place a structure to deal with the particular programme. Indeed, a committee was formed," she added.McDonald went on to name the members of that restructured committee, which included McEachrane and five others.The crux of the letter, though, seems to be the accusations of misconduct levelled against McDonald by members of the PNM, as this group claims that the party has "not acted" on various complaints against her over the past four years.
"Dr Rowley, it is our opinion that Marlene Mc Donald has been able to be promoted using deceitfulness and subterfuge for over 4 years. Do not allow this upcoming fiasco to destroy the party's chances at regaining Government," the letter stated.It also noted that it would not send any information to the members of the People's Partnership, as "they may in fact admire the corruption schemes we are trying to stamp out of the PNM."
The Sunday Guardian contacted PNM General Secretary Ashton Ford yesterday who said he was unaware of the letter to Rowley. He promised to look into the matter.Several attempts to contact both McDonald and Rowley were unsuccessful as McDonald's mobile phone remained switched off and neither she nor Rowley responded to texts.