OPPOSITION Leader Dr Keith Rowley yesterday stated his meeting with Integrity Commission chairman Ken Gordon at Gordon’s private home on May 15 was held, in part, to seek information on whether a matter — namely the purported emails he had sent to former President George Maxwell Richards — was before the Commission.
Rowley rejected statements that the meeting Gordon had with him was improper. Rowley also said Gordon did not compromise his position as Integrity Commission chairman by inviting him to the meeting at Gordon’s Glencoe home.
Yesterday, Newsday exclusively reported the contents of the aide memoire issued by the Commission in the wake of questions raised by Moonilal in the House of Representatives on Thursday about the meeting. Rowley was not in the House at the time when Moonilal raised this matter.
The aide memoire stated Rowley called Gordon’s secretary seeking an “urgent meeting” and left a mobile number. Gordon twice called the number and, as Rowley was by that stage already on his way home, Gordon suggested they meet at Gordon’s home at Glencoe, which is not far from Rowley’s home.
Rowley yesterday disclosed he wanted to meet Gordon to seek information about whether the purported email materials, he was about to raise as a matter in Parliament, were before the Commission.
“Given the issue I proposed to raise in the Parliament, as a responsible senior parliamentarian, I wanted to establish whether the matter was the subject of an investigation by the Commission. I told that to the Parliament,” he said. “Had it been determined that the matter was the subject of an investigation by the Commission, my actions would have been guided accordingly and the Parliament may have never been brought into the picture.”
He offered no explanation as to why he did not write the Integrity Commission Registrar. He also did not say why the matter was deemed so “urgent” since he had had the purported emails for months.
Asked if he believed that Gordon compromised his position as Commission chairman by inviting him to a meeting at his home instead of meeting him at the Commission’s offices in Port-of- Spain, Rowley replied, “Certainly not. Remember I asked for an urgent meeting with him How could he have done otherwise?”
During debate on the no-confidence motion on May 20, Rowley questioned the competence of the Police Service and called for the Commission to investigate the matter. He said, “I also call on the Integrity Commission to discharge its responsibility and oversee the conduct of public officers in Trinidad and Tobago. And insofar as there is no Integrity Commission in place, I call on the President to immediately ensure that there is an Integrity Commission in place so that these matters can be properly investigated in short order.” He added, “Mr Speaker, as I checked recently, there is no Integrity Commission in place.”
Commenting further on the contents of the aide memoir, Rowley told Newsday, “Mr Gordon’s written account is entirely accurate, comprehensive and complete.” Rowley said contrary to Government Whip Dr Roodal Moonilal’s claims that the meeting undermined the integrity of Parliament, “it points to nor represents anything sinister and I have nothing further to add.”