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Saturday, July 20, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bisses-
sar says chairman of the Integrity Com-
mission Ken Gordon has compromised
his office and must recuse himself from
more than just the e-mail issue, because
of his private meeting with Opposition
Leader Keith Rowley on May 15.
Speaking to reporters yesterday at the
launch of a new NP gas station in Char-
lieville, Persad-Bissessar said her lawyer
has advised her that Gordan should not
be a part of matters regarding her gov-
ernment or the Opposition.
"My lawyer is now advising that Mr
Gordon may well have to recuse himself
from any matters which concern members
of my government, because of that meet-
Persad-Bissessar said yesterday the pri-
vate meeting created a perception that
could not be overlooked about Gordon s
ability to fairly sit in on matters concerning
the Government and the Opposition.
She said it was unknown what other
matters Rowley and Gordon might have
"Now they have indicated it (the meet-
ing) was about the e-mails. We don t know
what else was discussed.
And I believe my lawyer is about to
write to Mr Gordon that he should recuse
himself and not sit on any matters which
relate to members of the Government.
And secondly, that he should not sit in
on any matters related to members of the
Opposition and the former government."
Persad-Bissessar said she was advised
that Gordon so severely compromised that
office with the "secret meeting," that "it
would be unwise and inappropriate and
unfair for him to sit on any matters related
to my Government and/or to the Oppo-
sition and former government."
She said a letter saying this from her
lawyer should go out soon.
"It therefore places the commission in
a very untenable position, where we would
have a chairman who would not be able
to sit on matters related to the Government
and to the Opposition and former gov-
ernment, and therefore would in effect be
hamstrung in carrying out his duties."
PM: Gordon must not sit on
Govt, Opposition matters
KAMLA AT THE PUMP
Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine looks on as Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar examines the gasoline pump at the opening of
the refurbished service station in Charlieville yesterday. PHOTO:TONY HOWELL
GETTING IT RIGHT
A headline published on our front page on July 17,
Insurers not ready for Dogs Bill, may have been
understood by some readers as suggesting that all
insurance companies are unable to provide cover to
customers who own breeds of dogs identified as Class
We understand that there are insurance companies
that do provide cover in certain homeowners' policies,
and owners of Class A dogs who have a homeowners'
policy should verify this with their insurers.
Our apologies for any confusion the headline may
Rowley did not tell Parliament that he had
met with Gordon to discuss the issue, and both
men have been heavily criticised over their
In his 2,000-word release, which was presented
in a question-and-answer format, Gordon said perhaps
he had waited too long before responding to what
he called the "misrepresentations and in some cases
deliberate distortions" that had appeared in the media
about the meeting.
His comments were largely an expanded version
of a statement he made on June 21 in which he
defended himself against criticisms that arose after
news of the meeting became public.
He again strenuously denied that the meeting with
Rowley at his home was held in secret or "in the
dead of night like Dracula," saying it took place from
6.15-6.30 pm. He also insisted Rowley had not misled
or trapped him into the meeting.
On his reasons for not resigning, Gordon said the
law made it clear that the commission "is not subject
to the direction or control of any other persons or
authority and that it has the power to do what it
considers necessary or expedient."
He said whether or not there was a constituted
commission on May 15, the identical circumstances
could have occurred.
In that case, he said: "My response would almost
certainly have been the same except that I might
have called one of the commissioners on the phone
on Dr Rowley s departure."
He said he did the next best thing---write an aide-
Gordon also repeated that he had to seek a legal
opinion on whether the commission had jurisdiction
to investigate the Section 34 e-mail probe because
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and the Attor-
ney General had said the commission was not the
competent body to do such a probe. The legal opinion
was necessary, he said, "to clear up the widespread
uncertainty as a matter of public opinion."
The commission required clarity on the matter,
he argued, "as part of its preparation for the incoming
"Resignation holds no dragons for me," Gordon
said, adding that he had resigned from four previous
national appointments under three different govern-
ments, and on all those occasions it was because of
his principled position "against what I considered to
Full text of Gordon's statement on Pages A18 and A20.
From Page A1
holds no dragons'
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