Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 19th 2016 Contents Gangar freed
of 2 integrity
Former Government Minister Finbar Gan-
gar yesterday was freed of two charges for
failing to declare his foreign bank accounts
to the Integrity Commission.
Magistrate Christine Charles discharged
Gangar in the Port-of-Spain Magistrates'
Court after prosecutors from the Office of the
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) indicated
that they could offer no evidence against him.
State prosecutor Norma Peters explained to
Charles her office had evidential issues due to the
protracted charges which were laid on Gangar
almost 12 years ago.
In a brief telephone interview afterwards Gangar
said he was pleased with the outcome of the case.
"It always had to come to an end at some point
in time. I was always of the view that these charges
were unprosecutable," Gangar said.
Gangar was accused of failing to declare to the
Integrity Commission two bank accounts in Jersey,
Channel Islands, two in New York and one each
in Royal Bank and Scotiabank in San Fernando.
At the time he was charged, the four accounts
in the Channel Islands and New York were held
jointly by Gangar and his wife, Maureen, while the
accounts at Royal Bank and Scotiabank were said
to be in Gangar's name only.
The two charges alleged that Gangar failed to
declare the six bank accounts to the Integrity Com-
mission for the years 1998 and 1999.
Former prime minister Basdeo Panday was
slapped with three similar charges shortly before
Gangar in 2004. Two years later, Panday was con-
victed by then Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicolls
and was sentenced to two years in prison.
Panday's appealed and his conviction was over-
turned and a retrial ordered.
During his retrial in 2012, Magistrate Marcia
Murray granted a permanent stay of his charges
as she agreed that the charges against him may
have been politically motivated and that he was
treated unfairly compared to other public officials
who committed similar infractions under the
integrity legislation and were not charged.
Gangar was represented by Jagdeo Singh and
Former Government Minister Finbar Gangar.
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, May 19, 2016
Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus
says she is not being pressured by members of
her own Cabinet who are opposed to changing
labour laws to protect workers.
Speaking to reporters during a labour legislation
consultation at the National Energy Skills Centre
at the Point Lisas Campus yesterday, Baptiste-
Primus said she was not "a sacrificial lamb" as
asserted by Oilfields Workers' Trade Union pres-
ident general Ancel Roget.
She added: "I would have wondered where
he would have gotten that information from.
As the minister, Government has a policy
position which was enshrined in the man-
"As you all would know the manifesto is
now official government policy. Today, this
conversation on the amendment, the review
of the Retrenchment and Severance Benefits
Act, that is part of the legislative reform that
is embraced within government's policy."
Asked when people could expect changes to
the anti-worker legislation, Baptiste-Primus said:
"We have a process to go through that will take
a little while before a recommendation is made
to the Cabinet."
The Government is considering changes to
the Retrenchment and Severance Benefits Act,
the Companies Act, the Income Tax Act and the
Industrial Relations Act.
"We are dealing with several changes because
we have had consultations in January, February,
March and April on contract labour," she said.
The minister said the first draft report was
ready to go back out to the stakeholders.
She explained: "We had discussions on the
recommendations made by the Industrial Rela-
tions Advisory Committee for the amendment
of the IRA.
"We would have received the employers written
comments, JTUM's, FITUN's written comments
and now we are awaiting Natuc's written com-
ments before completing that first draft which
will embrace the employers and the unions'
Based on responses, Baptiste-Primus said a
second working draft document would be pre-
"We are keeping our timeline in that regard.
At the end of today we will give all the parties
involved an additional one month to submit their
additional comments," she added.
Baptiste-Primus said she was satisfied that
"there appears to be consensus on many of the
areas. I am prepared at the end of their written
comments to meet again."
She also said she was willing to meet with
retrenched workers of Constructora OAS who
have been sent home without getting outstanding
salaries and severance benefits.
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