AG Ramlogan condemns the attempt by the Chairman of the Integrity Commission, Ken Gordon to “pass the buck” by blaming the Registrar for the suppression of the letter advising him that the Commission had launched an investigation. This investigation was in response to a complaint made by Senator Hinds regarding the registration and licensing of the AG’s vehicles. The Commission launched an investigation on September 23rd, 2013 with an aggressive timetable.
In a stunning and unusual departure from the established practice and procedure, the Commission failed to notify the AG that he was the subject of an investigation and give him an opportunity to defend himself. This is contrary to the rules of natural justice and tantamount to a Judge hearing the prosecution’s case alone without bothering to even inform the defendant that he’s on trial far less, give him an opportunity to present his defence.
It was only two days ago, on November 14th that the Commission finally informed AG Ramlogan that they had in fact launched an investigation and apologized for the serious failure to notify him. It indicated that a letter was drafted and should have been sent but provided no explanation as to why it was suppressed.
In responding, Gordon stated that, “All complaints are dealt with through the process with the Registrar, who has a whole department set up to do this”. The AG finds this excuse to be hypocritical and disingenuous. Mr Gordon only recently met with Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley at his home at night to receive a complaint. He did not refer him to the Registrar. It is strange that this procedure was not followed in that instance.
This attempt to “pass the buck” and lay blame on the Registrar of the Commission begs the question whether any disciplinary action will be taken against those who are guilty of suppressing this important letter. The burning question remains “Who is to blame for this serious breach and violation of the legal right of the AG to be informed about this investigation?”
The AG does not accept the flippant response by Mr Gordon. His attempt to “wash his hands off” this matter and distance himself from this fiasco is difficult to reconcile with his hands-on approach in other matters when he secretly met with Dr Rowley and aggressively investigate Dr Rowley’s email-gate complaint.
As Chairman, Mr Gordon is ultimately responsible for the work of the Commission. The buck stops with him. He must accept responsibility for the serious violation and breach that has occurred and come clean on this matter. The AG demands a full account and explanation of what led to the suppression of this letter. It is highly improper and unfair for a person to be investigated without them being informed of the allegation far less given the opportunity to defend themself.
This fiasco will compromise the integrity and independence of the Integrity Commission which appears to aggressively pursue complaints against members of the Government without informing them (UDECOTT Chairman Jearlean John was also treated in a similar manner) whilst it conversely drags its feet on complaints made by the Government against others. Mr Gordon was forced to disqualify himself from the investigation into email-gate on the ground of apparent political bias. His leadership and independence has once again been called into question.
This latest fiasco will cause irreparable damage and harm to the independence and integrity to the Integrity Commission. It will further erode public confidence and intensify the perception that the Commission is biased against the Government. In the circumstances,the AG calls upon Mr Ken Gordon to follow the example set by his predecessor Mr Eric St Cyr who, when faced with a similar situation, tendered his resignation. This is the decent and honorable thing to do to avoid further embarrassment and damage to the Commission.
Saturday 16th November,2013
MINISTRY OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL