Tabaquite MP Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj says he is not surprised by the findings of the Uff Commission. Maharaj, who returned from Barbados on Monday night, was speaking during an interview on the Morning Panchyat on Sangeet 106.1FM yesterday. Based on the extracts of the Uff report, published in the newspapers, Maharaj said: "It was not surprising to me what were the findings. I think it was quite clear all along that (Calder) Hart had too much of power. "The power was uncontrolled...the Prime Minister allowed Hart to exercise arbitrary power and a lot of the projects needed forensic investigations but there were breaches of all of the procedures," he said.
"I think the Uff Commission has vindicated the public in their concerns about Udecott, about Mr Calder Hart and the board of Udecott." Maharaj said since 2008, when the matter about the Ministry of Legal Affairs Tower was disclosed, Prime Minister Patrick Manning had a duty to do what was right and fire the Udecott board and take the necessary steps against Hart. However, he said Hart was praised and more contracts were awarded. Asked if he felt confident about the recommendations being implemented, Maharaj said he remained hopeful that "serious steps" would be taken to implement them ,whether it was by the existing government or a new government. "I have no doubt there will be a general election in the month of May," he said.
Also speaking about the issue of the model of governance, Maharaj said there should be more innovative ways for people of a country to remove a government. "I think that this is the worst in the history of the PNM...I think it is even worse than the O'Halloran scandal," he said. "I think the time has come in Trinidad and Tobago for there to be a different kind of rules for democracy. "Here you have a Government that can be in office for five years, can do whatever it wants and unless a general election is called and the people decide to move it...the Government will continue in office." He said there should be powers of recall for a government.