Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 23rd 2013 Contents For years the Integrity Commission has
been marred in controversy.
In 2009, chairman John Martin and all
of the commissioners resigned in the wake
of a damning High Court judgment which
found the body had acted in bad faith and
was guilty of misfeasance when they referred
a report which led to a criminal investigation
of Diego Martin West MP Dr Keith Rowley s
role in the Landate affair.
Shortly after, Gordon Deane, who replaced
Martin, also stepped down after the com-
mission referred the Landate matter involv-
ing Dr Keith Rowley to the DPP. Deane
recused himself in this matter.
The cloud of controversy continued in
May 2009 when within hours of its for-
mation retired Justice of Appeal Zainool
Hosein, who had been promised the post
of deputy chairman, but which instead was
given to Jeffrey McFarlane, resigned. One
week later, its chairman Roman Catholic
cleric Fr Henry Charles (now deceased) dis-
covered he could not serve on the commis-
sion, according to canon law and was forced
In 2011, Dr Eric St Cyr relinquished his
position as chairman after Udecott chairman
Jearlean John called on him to resign and
threatened legal action after he incorrectly
and prematurely told a reporter that the
commission had started an investigation on
Now, the commission s current chairman
Ken Gordon has found himself in a brouhaha
for having a secret meeting with Rowley
Gordon has maintained that he has done
nothing wrong and will not step down.
In this interview with SHALIZA HAS-
SANALI, Gladys Gafoor, who was suspended
by former president Maxwell Richards as
deputy chairman of the commission under
Gordon s tenure, has finally broken her
silence on her thoughts on the Gordon/Row-
ley meeting and what led to her suspension,
which she challenged in the court but lost.
Q: What led to your suspension?
A: It was based on my refusal to recuse
myself from participating in the mat-
ter regarding John Jeremy who was being
investigated by the commission. Someone
whose name I am not at liberty to reveal
had written the commission asking that Mr
Jeremy be investigated for something he
had done ultra vires his duties, while he
was attorney general. The complaint had
been before the commission for 22 months,
which would have been approximately 21
months prior to Mr Gordon s appointment
as chairman. No complaint had been made
during those 21 months. But approximately
one month subsequent to Mr Gordon s
appointment, a letter was received com-
plaining that I should not participate in the
investigation, but stating no reasons that
would necessitate my recusal. The com-
mission had decided prior to Mr Gordon s
tenure that the matter be investigated by a
private investigator and not be done by the
commission itself. This was not an unusual
What was your role in this process?
The commission does not embark on a
role until the report by the private inves-
tigator is submitted. Hence, I would not
have had a role until the report was received.
When were you suspended and how?
I was suspended in February 2012. I heard
of my suspension by former president His
Excellency George Maxwell Richards. I heard
this on the news. Until that time, I had no
knowledge of my suspension. Later in the
afternoon a courier came to my house and
served me the suspension letter.
Were you shocked?
I was very shocked because Mr Richards
said that he would call me after my response
to the gist of the letters he had received.
He never showed me the actual letters
although I requested them. He said he would
call me and he never did. Mr Richards in
my view acted unfairly towards me and
humiliated me in a manner I did not deserve.
I became very disturbed. I felt I had done
nothing wrong. I was not given a full oppor-
tunity to be heard in accordance with the
rules of natural justice...I understood sub-
sequently that secret meetings had taken
place between the chairman and Mr Richards
of which I was not told.
You have appealed two court matters
against the commission, what has hap-
pened to those?
In the first place, I took a strong stand
in the matter of my recusal because I did
feel, and still do, that Mr Gordon did not
have the authority to recuse me, nor did
the other members none of whom was qual-
ified legally or otherwise to deal with my
recusal. My matters from the High Court
have been appealed after the judge in his
wisdom determined both matters against
me. I have, however, given instructions to
my attorneys to discontinue my matters.
That decision was taken earlier this year. I
did not feel there was any point in pursuing
the matters...not that I would lose, I felt
that it was causing me too much stress and
trauma. My lawyers, however, felt otherwise.
I did not agree with the ruling in both mat-
ters hence the reason for the appeal.
By backing down, wouldn t Mr Gordon
feel vindicated and consider you a weak-
Mr Gordon s feelings are irrelevant to me.
I am not concerned with what Mr Gordon
thinks of me. I am concerned with what
God thinks of me. I know I am a person of
impeccable integrity. My integrity cannot
be challenged. I am sure of that. No one
can come forward and say that I am not a
person of integrity. I dare anyone to come
forward and attack my integrity success-
June 23, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
The People s National Movement (PNM) gen-
eral council has endorsed the views expressed
by its leader Dr Keith Rowley and Ken Gordon
that they did no wrong in having a secret meet-
ing on May 15.
The announcement was made by the party s
chairman Franklin Khan yesterday at a press
briefing at Balisier House, Port-of-Spain.
Khan said the Government was making "much
ado about nothing" and was only creating a
sideshow to take away from the real issues affect-
ing the country.
The general council, Khan said, supported
Gordon s stance not to resign.
Asked if the PNM was concerned about the
public s perception, Khan said the perception
surrounded a lot of spin.
"So what is sinister about that? Mr Gordon
was so right when he said that a person on the
Integrity Commission is someone of integrity.
So you cannot come with a spurious matter like
that to question its integrity."
Quoting the comment without naming the
source, Gordon in his press release on Friday
characterised it as "an accusation of treason, one
of the most serious crimes on the books."
Khan said, "in the concept of the nation, trea-
son is worse than murder. Nothing is more scan-
dalous than that."
Former attorney general Ramesh
Lawrence Maharaj says Integrity
Commission Ken Gordon has made
the right decision not to be hounded
out of office as a result of political
Maharaj was responding to Gor-
don s stance not to step down from
the commission after issuing a press
release on Friday.
"What Mr Gordon did was not
contrary to the Integrity in Public
Life Act or its objectives. He is entitled
to meet public officers at short notice
depending upon the circumstances."
Having drafted and piloted the act
in both Houses of Parliament while
he served as attorney general, Maharaj
said this was the policy and objective
of the act "so the Integrity Commis-
sion can play a proactive role in fight-
The act also allows its chairman
to interface with members of the
public, including public officials."
right not to step down
Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj
Continues on Page A7
PNM political leader Dr Keith Rowley, left,
general secretary of the PNM Ashton Ford, right,
and a member leave after the party's general
council meeting at Balisier House, Port-of-Spain,
yesterday. PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
Gafoor withdraws appeal
... 'My integrity is impeccable'
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