Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 22nd 2015 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Friday, May 22, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 21ST MAY, 2015
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley is demand-
ing that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
reinstate him into Parliament immediately.
He made the comment yesterday in the wake of
the resignation of Integrity Commission deputy
chairman Justice Sebastian Ventour.
Rowley said Ventour s departure was a stunning
development within the Integrity Commission.
"That is what we are seeing. It is a shocking col-
lapse of the Integrity Commission," he said in a
Rowley said given what the country had now
seen and heard from Ventour, the PM had to use
the same authority she used to expel him from Par-
liament to put him back in.
"She must rescind the expulsion," Rowley said.
Ventour s view that the Emailgate probe was far
from over contradicted an earlier statement from
the commission which said it had closed the inves-
tigation due to insufficient evidence to move forward.
Rowley said Ventour s resignation and his state-
ment had now left the commission facing "serious
"The Integrity Commission is required to have
at least one retired judge and Justice Ventour was
just one of two and if he says to the population
that the commission s statement was premature
and irregular, that has serious implications against
those who made those statements and provided
those statements to be used in the way that it was
used," Rowley said.
"This is a shocking development," he added.
The Integrity Commission has been thrown into
disarray on several occasions in recent years.
It also collapsed back in 2009 when the courts
found that then chairman John Martin had acted
in bad faith with Rowley on the Landate affair. This
led to a mass resignation of all commissioners.
Another slate, chaired by Father Henry Charles,
also fell apart after just one week when then com-
missioner, now chairman Justice Zainool Hosein,
resigned after a few hours and another commissioner,
Jeffrey McFarlane, was also found to be ineligible
for the appointment. Charles was also accused of
plagiarism. Dr Eric Cyr then took over but was
forced to resign after he told the media HDC head
Jearlean John was under investigation before she
was informed. Media mogul Ken Gordon replaced
St Cyr but his commission also found itself in con-
troversy after a fallout between Gordon and then
commissioner Gladys Gafoor.
Reinstate me to
Deputy chairman of
the Integrity Commis-
sion, retired Justice
Sebastian Ventour, yes-
terday resigned, throw-
ing the body into disarray
In a telephone interview
yesterday, Ventour, whose
departure came a day after
member Dr Shelly Anne
Lalchan also quit, said he
took the decision because
he disagreed with the
media release from the
commission which had
stated that the prolonged
had been "terminated."
"It has everything to do
with the statement that
the investigations into the
Emailgate matter has been
terminated. I sent in my
resignation today (yester-
day). I am out," Ventour
On Tuesday, the
wrote to Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar s
lawyer, Israel Khan, SC,
informing him there was
"no or insufficient
grounds" to continue the
The commission s
launched in 2013 after
Opposition Leader Dr
Keith Rowley read out a
thread of email correspon-
dence purported to be
from key Government
ministers, including Per-
attorney general Anand
Ramlogan, Minister of
Works and Infrastructure
Dr Suruj Rambachan,
Housing Minister Dr
Roodal Moonilal and then
national security adviser
chairman Ken Gordon had
recused himself from the
investigation and Ventour
took charge. Ventour
directed the commission
US lawyers in their pro-
tracted battle with search
engine Google Inc in a
California court to obtain
the relevant information
on the email correspon-
Yesterday, he said he
was taking a principled
stand on the matter, hence
his decision to resign.
"You have to take a
stand on principle, I have,
or at least I hope I have,
a penchant for doing what
is right and what the
Integrity Commission did
was incorrect. What it
said in the published
statement was incorrect,"
He said the Emailgate
investigation and the
information the commis-
sion received involved just
Ramlogan but said noth-
ing about the other indi-
viduals also under inves-
tigation. As the matter
was being investigated as
a whole, there were still
two outstanding investi-
gations into other email
addresses, he said.
"They are with Hot-
mail. The matter, there-
fore, cannot be complete.
We are saying that the
matter is finished but with
that information still out-
standing it cannot be fin-
ished," Ventour added.
Ventour said he had
"taken an oath" to do his
duty and believed he owed
it to the public to be hon-
"When I am asked if
that decision was made
against what I stand for,
I can stand behind my
words and I can stand
behind the truth," he said.
Ventour did not want
to comment on whether
he believed his resignation
on a principled stand
implied that the commis-
sion had been compro-
mised and said he could
not comment on a meet-
ing he had with chairman
"But yes we did have a
meeting about this issue,"
Ventour said he hoped
his resignation opened the
eyes of people in T&T.
"I am hoping that peo-
ple see it is time to stand
up for what is just and
what is right and fair. We
must learn too that what
is right is right," he said.
Ventour also refused to
comment on whether his
resignation implied that
the rest of the commission
was complicit with the
details in its statement.
"Perhaps they have a
different view than I do
but I would not comment
on that. I would say that
it is incorrect to say that
it could finalise the Email-
gate investigation when
that is not true," he said.
Asked whether he
believed the Integrity
Commission had become
politicised by its letter
closing the matter, Ven-
tour said: "I would not say
that it is politicised but
how on earth can you say
that you are finished with
the investigation when in
fact that is not so?"
He accepted that he
may now face criticism by
for resigning after Persad-
Bissessar claimed the
commission s letter had
"I know that will hap-
pen and I am prepared to
deal with it. When you
stand on truth there is
nothing to fear," Ventour
The T&T Guardian
understands that the res-
ignation letter, once sub-
mitted to the chairman,
will be forwarded to Pres-
ident Anthony Carmon,
who is expected to make
a statement on the issue
Ventour disagrees with Emailgate statement...
'Time to stand up'
Former Integrity Commission chairman
Ken Gordon did not sound surprised when
informed of Ventour's resignation
In a telephone interview, Gordon said he
did have an idea that Ventour would have
resigned and he gave some insight into
how the commission operated in such
"Documents are normally prepared by
the registrar but obviously the chair
would have sight of the documents
before it is sent out. He has to see the
"Normally, the way it works is that the
matter then comes before the
commissioners for a discussion," he added
Gordon said it was customary for all the
sitting commissioners to discuss the
matter and make their opinions known.
He said there would always be times of
disagreements and at those times the
chair would go along with the prevailing
"The chair could have a position that
the others don't agree with, but a
responsible chair would go with a general
consensus. Some members may feel
strongly enough about the matter that
they take a principled stand and walk
away with the rationale that they would
rather leave than have their name
associated with something," he added.
Also contacted yesterday, Persad-
Bissessar's lawyer, Israel Khan, SC, said he
was in court all day and was not aware
Ventour had resigned.
"I don't know anything so how could I
say something?" he said.
When asked if he was concerned that
Ventour's resignation overshadowed any
claim to victory made by his client, Khan
said nothing worried him.
"This is Trinidad, I am not too
concerned," he said.
Khan said he did not know how the
Integrity Commission operated and was
not privy to its internal operations.
When asked if Hosein ever worked in
his chambers, Khan said: "I just don't know
anything about that."
GORDON: CONSENSUS NEEDED
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