Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ramlogan Threatens London with Legal Action

Attorney General, Anand Ramlogan
In a story carried by the express, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has threaten the Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary Orville London to submit documents pertaining to the Milshirv project and the aquatic centre project to  the Minister of Finance Larry Howai. 

Ramlogan stated that his request must be satisfied within a one week period or else London would be taken to court under the Freedom of Information Act, in an effort to compel him to release the documents. The Attorney General further tries to bully his way as usual by stating if he is "forced" to issue legal proceedings against London, he (Ramlogan) would also be forced to invite the Court to order London to pay the Legal costs personally out of his pockets as opposed to it coming out of the THA coffers. 

Ramlogan said he was giving London one more week because he did not want it to be said that "we are hounding Mr London or acting in an aggressive manner against him". "I am repeating the call to him through you (the media) to behave in a responsible and mature manner and disclose the documents or else face the consequences," the Attorney General stated. 

Last month Howai wrote London giving him seven days to submit the documents pertaining to the two projects. London in a press briefing stated that Howai, has to wait a little longer than his seven days stipulation. London further stated that under the laws and the T&T Constitution the Finance Minister has no authority to instruct him to provide information to him within any timeframe.

Further, London indicated that in the interest of public disclosure and due to the considerable discussion that surrounded the transaction he has a responsibility to make the information available to the Minister as well as the general public.

However, even with these assurances, the Attorney General seeks to take draconian measure  against the Chief Secretary and more so Tobago House of Assembly. 

This boldface, daring, audacious and irresponsible use of power against the Highest institution of the people of Tobago must be condemned.  If the Minister does not have the "Powers" to instruct the Chief Secretary, that Minister, be him Howai or any other must wait for the provision of documents, given that explanations are forthcoming and it is done in a reasonable time.  There must be no support for the PP Government carrying the Tobago House of Assembly to Court, given that the documents are already submitted to Integrity Commission and as such an investigation can be pending or might be ongoing. 

As a result of Ramlogan's action, we must conclude therefore, that the Attorney General is NOT interested in transparency and accountability as he is purporting, rather he is interested in Politicking and his urgent quest for information is only to actively assist and satisfy the PP in their witch-hunt for political reasons or ends to damage the PNM as heavy campaigning for votes is soon to begin before the THA election.

Let the Attorney General be reminded that we the citizens of Tobago are watching their (PP) every move as it relates to Autonomy  of the office of the Chief Secretary,(note not the person) and any attack on the Office would be met with great displeasure, discomfort, resistance and aggression from the people of Tobago. 

In a previous post, London said he wanted to make it very clear that the decision not to submit the documents within seven days to Howai was by no means meant to prevent the information from being made public; "Quite the contrary, we want to ensure that at the same time the Minister has the information, the public has the information," London added.

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