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SATURDAY, JUNE 22, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley
yesterday greeted the news of Integrity
Commission chairman Ken Gordon s deci-
sion to remain in office with gladness,
but said he had some regrets about the
way the May 15 meeting between the two
was blown out of proportion.
Rowley made the comment during the
tea break at yesterday s House of Repre-
sentatives session in Port-of-Spain.
Gordon had released a statement earlier
in the day saying, among other things, that
he was well within the law to have hosted
Commenting on the statement, Rowley
said Gordon had rejected the "sinister inter-
pretations" put on the meeting.
"It s good that he had not resigned,
because I don t think that the circumstances
warranted it," Rowley said.
In stressing the meeting with Gordon
was urgent, Rowley said if he or Gordon
were planning a meeting, "it would not
have been in that way, so as to allow per-
sons to misrepresent and hype up the sit-
uation with agendas of one kind or anoth-
er."He said based on the "extraneous matter
brought in about conspiracy, treason and
misbehaviour in public office, clearly it
matters not where the meeting took place,
as they would have gone down that road."
He acknowledged, "Things did not go
as they should have, but not that badly,
warranting a resignation."
Asked if he had any regrets about having
the meeting with Gordon at his home,
Rowley said: "In a way I must say yes,
because I didn t like the way the meeting
created the opportunity for persons to mis-
Rowley also said he expects a full Integri-
ty Commission to be in place next week.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
is standing by her position that the meet-
ing between Dr Keith Rowley and Ken
Gordon was inappropriate.
However, she said yesterday her main
concern was not the meeting itself but the
use of Integrity Commissioner Ken Gordon s
house and of what was discussed.
"The concern is not about the meeting
per se, the concern is about the venue of
the meeting and the content of the meet-
ing," Persad-Bissessar said yesterday.
"Those are things I am seeing expressed
in the newspapers. In a way, Mr Gordon
may have acted as he saw fit, given an office
such as the Leader of the Opposition indi-
cated that it was something urgent, so it
may well be that Mr Gordon felt that it
was a matter of great substance."
Persad-Bissessar made the comment after
a meeting with Chief Secretary of the Toba-
go House of Assembly, Orville London, in
one of the committee rooms at Parliament,
The PM steered clear of commenting on
Gordon s statement on the issue yesterday,
but said she felt Rowley also acted inap-
propriately given his experience in politics.
"I do believe that the Leader of the Oppo-
sition, with more than 20 years experience,
as a politician, as a parliamentarian and
now as the honourable Leader of the Oppo-
sition, acted inappropriately in a manner
I think that goes beyond all bounds, keeping
in mind the honourable office that he holds."
Persad-Bissessar said the Parliament was
not informed of the matter and this was
why she described it as "a secret meeting."
She maintained that Rowley had "a lot
to answer for."
She also confirmed that President Antho-
ny Carmona had officially written to her
to find out what her objections were to the
meeting, but she had not yet responded.
She said she would do so in due course.
Persad-Bissessar met with Carmona on
Thursday, but did not disclose to the media
what was discussed at the meeting.
On May 15, Rowley met with Gordon at
his home in Glencoe. Five days later, Row-
ley presented a motion of no confidence
in the PM in the Lower House, in which
he revealed some of the details of 31 e-
mails which discussed the Section 34 fias-
co. SEE PAGE A5
Kamla stands by her position on 'secret' meeting
Makeda Elie leads the
2013 graduating class
in song during the
ceremony at the UTT
O'Meara Campus in
Makeda is the
daughter of local
designer Ecliff Elie.
PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
GETTING IT RIGHT
Owing to technical difficulties experienced in
the T&T Guardian's production process on
Thursday night, some pages from a 2012
newspaper appeared in yesterday's paper.
We apologise to our readers for this error and
any confusion it may have caused.
Because of these production problems, Gillian
Lucky's regular Friday column and a statement
by Reginald Armour, SC, did not appear in our
print edition yesterday as planned. Our apologies
to Ms Lucky, Mr Armour, and disappointed
Their commentaries appear in today's paper on
On June 17 on Page A8 a photo caption
assigned the wrong ministry to Winston Peters.
Mr Peters is in fact the Minister of Community
Development, and the Minister of Arts and
Multiculturalism is Dr Lincoln Douglas.
Our apologies to Messrs Peters and Douglas
for the error.
Rowley had stressed that the need for a meet-
ing was urgent, Gordon pointed out several
times, and he wanted to avoid complaints that
he had not made time to listen to something
the leader of the opposition considered urgent.
His decision to meet Rowley, he concluded,
was "taken without regard to any form of partisan
consideration. It was the fair and rational thing
to do and it was not secret."
Gordon responded with some reluctance to
what he described as "inflammatory and highly
irresponsible statements made coupled with the
distortions of fact."
"The absurd charge was made that the meeting
was part of a political conspiracy," he noted,
"which, if only for the record, I categorically deny."
Gordon singled out for scorn the claim by
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan that: "When
you connect the dots it reveals a frightening
picture of an attempt by high office-holders to
topple the Government."
Quoting the comment without naming the AG,
Gordon characterised it as "an accusation of trea-
son, one of the most serious crimes on the books."
He categorically denied it, saying, "Like so
many of the other accusations, there is not an
iota of truth in that reckless charge."
Gordon referred to the aide-memoire that he
had already made public, and which he explained
he had written immediately after the meeting
He answered questions as to its accuracy by
declaring: "If a commissioner can be entrusted
to honour the oath of secrecy he can be entrusted
to faithfully report on what transpired at a brief
meeting with a public official.
"The question really is integrity, and if he or
she does not have it he or she should not be a
commissioner in the first place."
"The simple fact is that try as we might, we
cannot legislate for integrity."
In order to refute the suggestion that he had
used one of Rowley s lawyers to provide an opinion
on the contentious e-mails made public by Rowley,
Gordon yesterday for the first time named the
attorney in question as Deborah Peake, SC.
The e-mails are being investigated by the police
and are expected by the commission when a full
board of commissioners has been installed.
The statement was issued by the Integrity Com-
mission secretariat at 2 pm yesterday. Gordon
had first planned to hold a press conference, but
changed his mind the previous day.
See full statement on Page 10
the facts of meeting'
From Page A1
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