If an Integrity Commission is constituted and required to investigate the e-mails produced by Opposition Leader Keith Rowley in Parliament last month, chairman Ken Gordon could be asked to recuse himself. This was the view offered by attorney Dana Seetahal in an interview yesterday. “It was very inappropriate,” Seetahal said of a meeting between Rowley and Gordon, at Gordon’s Glencoe home, in May.
Seetahal said the meeting was inappropriate, particularly as it was sought to discuss the business of the commission. “There are no safeguards at Gordon’s home and he was dealing with someone who falls under the aegis of the Integrity in Public Life Act. “He didn’t have the safeguards of the office which would give transparency to the meeting.” She said all the public was left with were the statements of the two parties involved, and considering that the purpose of the meeting was to look at a matter that would require the intervention of the Integrity Commission, once it was constituted, there could be an issue, as the chairman had interacted privately with the complaining party. “It would lead to the suggestion that Gordon should disqualify himself.”
Seetahal said Rowley’s explanation that the matter was urgent was not sufficient. “If it was so urgent, why couldn’t it have been done over the phone?” She also questioned the urgency of the matter as Rowley had the e-mails for some months before going to Parliament. “The proper thing was to put the query in writing and send it to the registrar to get a response. “The meeting was not appropriate and leaves many questions.” Seetahal said she was not doubting the explanations given for the meeting, but it was a matter of perception. “When you are dealing with the Integrity in Public Life Act you have to be careful—as other commissioners have found out in the past.”