Chairman of the Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) Professor John La Guerre says investigations into the award of scholarships via the Financial Assistance Programme under the former Patrick Manning government are still in progress and there is no final report. This was his response to a request from Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley on Wednesday for a copy of the report. Contributing to the 2012 budget debate in Parliament on Tuesday, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar had said the report was a public document. Persad-Bissessar quoted extensively from it to show that the former PNM government discriminated against citizens under the programme. She said the report showed only seven per cent of those granted scholarships were of East Indian origin.
Rowley wrote the commission on October 19, a day after Persad-Bissessar's revelations, requesting a copy of the report. La Guerre, in his one-page reply to Rowley, said: "Please note that the complaint which resulted in the production of the said report is still an ongoing matter as the commission has recommended that this matter be sent to conciliation. "Therefore, the report cannot be disclosed by the commission at this time," he added. La Guerre said the complainant, Transport Minister Devant Maharaj, "obtained a copy of the said report pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and as the complainant in this matter." He revealed that the commission "also sent a copy of the report to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Community Development as the respondent in this matter." Told by Rowley that the report was put in the public domain when its contents were read in Parliament by Persad-Bissessar, La Guerre said: "We wish to inform you that we have written to the Parliament seeking information as to whether the report as a whole was actually laid in Parliament."