THE BALL is in the court of President Anthony Carmona who could well be poised to take action within the next 24 hours over the question of the composition of the Integrity Commission.
The President is today due to meet with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar at President’s House, St Ann’s, amid widespread outcry and disquiet over the disclosure last week that chairman of the Integrity Commission Ken Gordon held a private meeting at his Glencoe home with Opposition and PNM political leader Dr Keith Rowley, informing Rowley of the status of a matter that had been sent to the commission for action.
Today’s meeting, the first formal meeting between the President and Prime Minister since their last regular meeting on May 8, comes days after Persad-Bissessar wrote to Carmona expressing serious concern over the disclosure of the May 15 Gordon/Rowley private meeting. She called on the Head of State to take such action as he deems fit.
Under the Integrity in Public Life Act and the Constitution, it is for the President to make appointments or terminate them. The meeting between the President and Prime Minister also comes after Carmona assured two weeks ago, that a new Integrity Commission would be in place by the end of this week.
“Within the next two weeks certainly there will be a full Integrity Commission,” the President told reporters on June 9 while attending a sports and family day at Presentation College Grounds in San Fernando.
The Integrity in Public Life Act calls for five members to constitute the Commission: a chairman, a deputy chairman and three ordinary commissioners. The Act stipulates that one member should be an attorney of ten years standing and another, a certified or chartered accountant. Any one of the members may be designated chairman, in the event of a vacancy. Yet, since under the legislation three members constitute a quorum, the Commission may function even if all five posts are not filled.
Though Carmona two weeks ago had said a “full” Commission is to be installed, he also reported difficulty in getting persons to come forward to serve. “There is always a difficulty. A lot of people talk and talk and talk but they are not prepared to come forward and actually serve. But we have great people in Trinidad and Tobago,” the President had said.
It remains unclear whether and to what extent the controversy surrounding chairman Gordon may have affected the President’s ongoing appointment process. Political analyst Dr Hamid Ghany last week said the fallout from Gordon’s actions on May 15, potentially endangered the President’s appointment process and thereby undermined the Office of the President.
There were unconfirmed reports yesterday that two persons who accepted requests to become members of the Commission pulled out following news of Gordon’s private meeting with Rowley. Read More