Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 7th 2013 Contents news
July 7, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro
blanked the media after his scheduled
discussion with Caricom Heads at the
Hilton Trinidad, St Ann s, yesterday.
The media had earlier told by Govern-
ment officials that Maduro and Caricom
chairman, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar, would speak at a scheduled
news conference after the visiting pres-
ident had concluded talks with the regional
leaders. But when Maduro emerged from
the meeting he simply waved to journalists
and left for the airport.
Speaking with reporters later at a news
briefing, Persad-Bissessar said Maduro
proposed the reactivation of the Joint
Caricom/Venezuela Commission based
on the long standing trade and investment
agreement. She said that mechanism "can
lead to increased trade, investment and
other economic activity."
She said Maduro proposed other meas-
ures relating to security, air and sea trans-
port, energy, a social and cultural plan.
Persad-Bissessar also said he spoke
about plans to develop ties with Caricom
and Mercosur. The PM said "many of the
initiatives proposed by President Maduro
touched on issues with which the com-
munity grapples and with which com-
munity could be furthered."
With respect to bilateral relations with
Venezuela, Persad-Bissessar said, "We
have agreed for a meeting to be convened
in T&T with representatives of Venezuela
on or about July 23."
She said following their own talks dur-
ing the current session, Caricom Heads
of Government had agreed to the re-
introduction of the single domestic space
to ensure hassle-free travel in the region.
She said during the meeting, which
began on Thursday and ended yesterday,
transportation was one of the major issues
discussed. She said the Caricom Secretariat
was now mandated to do what was
required to ensure this measure was suc-
The PM said another of the major deci-
sions taken was for a high level meeting
on persons with disabilities and special
needs to be convened. She said regional
dialogue is to commence soon to address
the issues and challenges being faced by
people with disabilities.
She said it was Haitian President Michel
Martelly who made the proposal. Per-
sad-Bissessar had told Heads at the open-
ing of the meeting that her granddaughter
Another matter discussed, Persad-
Bissessar said, related to the issues of
genocide and slavery. She said a committee
is to be set up under the chairmanship
of the Prime Minister of Barbados, Fre-
undel Stuart, and including the chair of
Caricom and others, to oversee the work
of a Caricom Reparation Commission.
Maduro blanks media
after Caricom talks
Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro is accompanied by Prime Minister Kamla
Persad-Bissessar on his arrival at the Hilton Trinidad, St Ann's, for discussions
with Caricom leaders attending the 40th Caricom Heads of Government meeting
yesterday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
From Page A1
He said that this lack of due diligence had resulted
in the largest contract awarded in the country over
the last two years in a methanol deal, going to a non-
existent company trading under the name Trinidad
Development Company, and it was only when it was
pointed out after the fact that such company was
not registered in this country that the fact became
"Who is behind the company and whether or not
the contracts have gone to political party financiers
is something that international agencies pay attention
to," he said.
Grey said he is amazed at the kind of information
that foreign international agencies have about this
country and other places in the Caribbean, information
that was gathered through investigation.
He said while politicians may tell the public that
the Corruption Perception Index is just perception,
it is not so. He said "perception is just 20 per cent"
and the "other 80 per cent is actually predication
and preliminary investigations that are conducted."
"Many of our public officials who feel they are
quite smart look up on the internet and see these
havens and they want to send their money to Licht-
enstein and to Antigua," he said, adding there is really
no way to hide those transactions since "all wire
transfer intermediary banks are American banks."
"So these officials are not that smart. The American
agencies have every single wire transfer, from who
and where and whatsoever," he said.
He said the foreign entities currently have a lot of
information on contracts and monies given to one
"One agency told us just last week that one certain
political party financier has already received, in the
three years from the current adminstration, over one
billion in contracts."
He refused, however, to divulge the name of fin-
ancier or the company or companies which had ben-
efitted from the contracts.
Contacted yesterday about the Grey s claim, Attor-
ney General Anand Ramlogan said, "I would be very
sceptical to belive such information unless there is
evidence to substantiate such a claim."
When told the source of the information, Ramlogan
said if the source were a government agency the
information would be deemed more credible, since
"they may possess the legal authority and power and
consequentially the credibility to make such a state-
ment. It is far too easy to make accusations and alle-
gations without any proof," he said
To substantiate his claim, he said he recalled a
Sunday Guardian story earlier this year which claimed
a government minister was under investigation by
the Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) for paying off
a mortgage at the rate of $42,000 a day in cash at
a local bank. He said both the bank and FIU sub-
sequently denied the allegation, but did not prevent
the story from making front page
"We have to be very careful," he said, suggesting
an agenda may be at play.
"Private organisations with political agendas are
a feature of our politics and this is the silly season,"
"It is suspicious that anyone who claims to have
such information will not report it or share it with
the proper and relevant law enforcement agency.
"If the evidence exists it should be shared with
the Financial Investigations Unit (FIU) and the Director
of Public Prosecutions (DPP). If it is shared with me
I will have no difficulty in treating with it or passing
it."Also in his presentation, Grey, speaking about
"external investigations," said law enforcement officials
must have relationships with external bodies who
have information to share. He said nine times out of
ten, persons amassing millions in contracts and bribes
do not bank their money in Trinidad and Tobago.
Foreign agencies, he said, can tell local law enforce-
ment agencies "what are the wire transfers going out
and who are the political or public officials who have
accounts in offshore havens."
"The United States can tell your Police Commis-
sioner, one phone call, and give him a list of all public
officials and where they bank. But it all comes back
to the political will. If the political financiers are con-
trolling the public officials, then they don t want to
make that phone call," he said.
Asked whether or not the information about the
contracts and money transactions revealed by the
foreign agency would be known by either the Financial
Investigative Bureau or the FIU, he said all it would
take to find out is the "political will" and a phone
call to the relevant foreign agency.
AG: Bring proof
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