Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 3rd 2016 Contents GEISHA KOWLESSAR
Civil society must play a greater role
to police those in authority, says chair-
man of the T&T Transparency Institute
He was speaking at a press conference
at Fernandes Industrial Estate, Laventille,
yesterday to announce the fifth annual
transparency anti-corruption conference
scheduled for next Monday.
"Governance and integrity are fairly
standard things that we talk about but
at the end of the day it s people and we
need to galvanise."
The conference, themed "Unmask the
Corrupt," is expected to be held at the
Hilton Hotel, Port-of-Spain, and has
listed several foreign speakers, including
former journalist Frank Vogl, co-founder
and former vice-chairman and adviser
to the managing director of the advisory
council of Transparency International.
Prime Minister Keith Rowley is also
expected to speak at the conference.
Regarding the collapse of the case
against former Petrotrin executive chair-
man Malcolm Jones, Murray said the
institute could not make any immediate
pronouncements but said the matter
would be looked at as there were
processes to follow.
"But justice is not something that can
change every five years with a change
of government. Every case has to be
investigated on its own merit.
"One of the things we all know and
all notice is that it appears that nobody
faces the consequences for actions taken
at various times and that is not accept-
able," Murray added.
On Monday, the State withdrew the
US$109 million lawsuit against Jones for
a breach of fiduciary duty arising out of
the failed billion-dollar Gas to Liquid
Plant (GTL) project.
On whistle-blower legislation, Murray
said while that may be in place there
must also be a strong body of protective services
to ensure such protection. He said given the recent
corruption perception index of this country, T&T
had much more work to do.
"Out of a possible score of 100, I am not con-
vinced that 39 is such a good mark and we need
to do things to improve.
"We need to look at our neighbours, like Jamaica,
who improved by three points this year
and we need to see that they have imposed
legislation and they have been involved in
the prosecution of high levels officials and
we need to do that," Murray urged.
On whether there were any matters
engaging the attention of the Transparency
Institute, Murray, who said he preferred not to
be specific, added: "At the moment there is a lot
Vogl, who also spoke, said reporters played a
key role in unmasking corruption and any effort
made by Government or any other authoritative
bodies to stifle such a process must be strongly
"Journalists want to comfort the afflicted by
afflicting the comfortable. Journalists have a vital
mission and if they don t stick with it and if they
allow themselves to be intimidated the world will
be a worse place.
"Governments that are curbing civil society and
anti-corruption are also curbing press freedom.
It is an enormous problem for us today," Vogl said.
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, March 3, 2016
A man reported missing since January 20 was
found on Monday in a grave at a quarry in Matura
wrapped in plastic and shot once in the head.
According to police reports, acting on information,
they went to the location and with the assistance of
a backhoe removed the man s body.
He was later identified as 20-year-old Donald
Pierre from Manzanilla.
Police said his body was already decomposing and
believed he had been wrapped in the plastic to mask
the stench. His killing has taken the murder toll to
86 for the year. ---JLV
Finance Minister Colm Imbert has called on
State-owned bank, First Citizens, to provide him
with information on the systems in place
at the bank to ensure there is compliance
with financial obligations regulations.
He requested the information from the
disclosure of a
tion by Planning
who at a news
Monday said she
$93,000 from the
bank after an
questioned her about the transaction and
accused the bank of leaking confidential
Imbert confirmed his request in a brief
Robinson-Regis, who is the MP for Arou-
ca-Maloney, yesterday received support
from the constituency s youth league.
In a release yesterday the PNM group
said it was inordinately dissatisfied with the
recent breach of confidentiality and sub-
sequent misinformation circulated in the
public domain involving the minister.
It said Robinson-Regis had lawfully
attained all of the funds in question.
"It is unfortunate that an employee of
First Citizens Bank sought to breach the
confidentiality agreement to which they are
bound, causing Robinson-Regis character
to be called into question," the group stat-
ed.It also said such breaches were an indict-
ment on the leadership of national institu-
tions which failed to take the necessary
steps to ensure the highest levels of pro-
fessionalism were upheld.
It added: "This is a disheartening and
clear illustration of how easily honest, hard-
working, public officials can be placed in
precarious positions, facing the court of
public opinion without just cause."
It said the poor attempt at besmirching the char-
acter of Robinson-Regis was unfortunate and has
highlighted the resilience and strong ethics of the
MP. The group said it wanted an apology from the
The matter arose after an Express report which
claimed the minister failed to make the
required declaration for allegedly depositing
money to the value of $150,000. Robinson
Regis said the amount deposited was
$93,000. She has since closed her accounts
at the bank.
Civil society must
step up to police
those in authority
MP's breach of
Imbert seeks info on
bank's compliance rules
Missing man found
in quarry grave
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