Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 13th 2016 Contents A14
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, June 13, 2016
KINGSTON---The Opposition People s
National Party (PNP) has admitted it
made major errors that may have cost it
the February 25th general elections.
Among those mistakes, it said, were the
decision not to take part in political debates
ahead of the voting, a campaign messaged
that was incoherent and failed to "com-
municate hope", its public sparring with
the then Opposition Leader Andrew Hol-
ness over how his new house was funded,
and unresolved candidate selection issues.
The disclosures were made by PNP
Deputy General Secretary Julian Robinson,
who chaired the 13-member appraisal com-
mittee that was set up to look into the
reasons behind the party s election loss.
The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) won
the election by one seat, securing 32
seats in the 63-seat Parliament, and
ousting the Portia Simpson Miller-led
Robinson told the media that the
snubbing of the political debates
turned out to be disastrous.
"Among the findings indicated
by post-election polls and focus
groups, the decision not to par-
ticipate in the national debate
was a fatal error. It contributed
to the impression that the party
was arrogant and took the electorate
for granted," he said.
Robinson also indicated that the party s
organization was not election ready, due
to low worker morale, unresolved candi-
date selection issues, problematic issues
between some Members of Parliament
and Councillors, among other challenges.
"Our findings also indicate that there
was a breakdown of trust among elements
of the leadership leading into the cam-
paign. This was never resolved and led to
the campaign being dysfunctional and
divided," he added, noting that there were
deficiencies in both the campaign itself
and the period leading up to the cam-
"It was apparent that there were dif-
ferent centres within the campaign man-
agement structure and there was a lack
of coordination in the fundraising effort.
Instead of having a single centre that had
all the funds coming into it, it was clear
that there wasn t that central coordination
of all the funds that came into the PNP
as a whole, and as such, that led to some
suboptimal outcomes, quite frankly."
Despite identifying the challenges,
Robinson said, the committee did not
focus on "which persons were responsible
for what", as its mandate was to identify
the weaknesses and ensure that systems
are put in place to prevent a repeat of the
The committee s report will be pre-
sented to the party s National Executive
Council on June 26.
Cayman Islands Attorney
General quizzed over
stamp duty payments
GEORGE TOWN---Cayman Islands Attorney General,
Samuel Bulgin, has been called on to disclose whether or
not he has paid stamp duty as required by law in relation
to unregistered tenancies at apartments he has owned for
over a decade.
In an email to Alan Jones, chief officer in the Ministry
of Planning, Lands, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure,
local lawyer Peter Polack referred to apartments owned by
Bulgin that is not his main residence and believed to have
been the subject of several unregistered tenancies.
Polack asked Jones to provide the following information,
among other matters, at the earliest opportunity:
•How many tenancies have existed at that apartment
since acquisition by Bulgin and any others that he may
have or had an indirect or direct interest?
•The total revenue of those tenancies.
•The number and amounts of stamp duty payments made
by Bulgin in respect of those tenancies.
"While this request involves a high official with a temp-
tation to delay response or treat same as [a freedom of
information request] you are reminded of the duties of you
and your staff under the Public Service Management Law
and the recent publicity on the abject failure of your portfolio
and the ministry of finance, particularly chief officer Kenneth
Jefferson, in regard to failed collection of stamp duty in the
public interest," Polack said.
"By copy of this email Samuel Bulgin is notified in the
unlikely event he wishes to offer you and the public an
explanation, there being a first for everything," he added.
Polack s request comes when the Lands and Survey
Department has issued a reminder that every tenant in the
Cayman Islands should be paying stamp duty, regardless
of the length or type of their lease.
Collection of the tax on residential rental properties
has historically been lax, but the law states that five
percent of the annual rental value on any lease agreement,
regardless of length or type of lease, is due in stamp duty
taxes to the government.
This is not the first time that Bulgin has come
under fire from Polack. In February of last year,
the lawyer said that there are too many unan-
swered questions in relation to the legal author-
ities in the Cayman Islands that are of significant
With a number of freedom of information
requests eliciting very little information because of
poor record keeping or refusals to release information, Polack
said that the attorney general in particular needed to answer
questions regarding his chambers, the independence of the
director of public prosecutions (DPP) and other concerns
that have been raised about the inefficiencies in the legal
"The silence of attorney general Samuel Bulgin, in the
face of a catalogue of current issues in connection with
criminal prosecutions and other judicial problems, flies in
the face of government s goals of transparency," Polack said
at the time.
"The attorney general has failed to keep relevant and
important records or disclose the reasons for a failure to do
so, leaving the public to draw its own conclusions.
"Bulgin has failed to make any comment or explanation
to dispel any appearance of mismanagement and poor lead-
ership. This problem extends to other government entities
who fend off probing FOI requests by simply having no
system of records or staff to manually search records of an
archaic system perpetuated by them," he added.
In May 2013, Bulgin was forced to deny allegations that
he, along with two other officials, committed misconduct
in public office, attempted to pervert the course of justice
and lied to police.
In a letter to then Cayman Islands Governor Duncan
Taylor, and copied to the head of Britain s Diplomatic Service,
Commander Allan Gibson of London s Scotland Yard said
that the allegations against Bulgin, former Governor Stuart
Jack and Britain s regional security adviser Larry Covington
amount to possible "misconduct in public office, attempting
to pervert the course of justice and possibly wasting police
Gibson wrote, "It is my view the allegations are serious
and contain sufficient detail to warrant a criminal inves-
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