Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said he was a more worried man after chairman of the Integrity Commission Ken Gordon’s statement about his May 15 meeting with Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley. Ramlogan commented on Gordon’s statement yesterday over the so-called secret meeting. The AG said the matter would not go away.
According to Ramlogan, the Integrity in Public Life Act “does not give any power to a single member of the commission. It does not even give any specific power to the chairman of the commission, except when the commission is duly constituted and acting as a lawful entity.” He said the chairman’s powers are only effected when the commission is properly constituted.
Ramlogan said it was “not proper for a member of the commission to purport to exercise powers of the non-existent commission.” He said: “That was an unlawful usurpation and arrogation unto himself of powers that properly belong to the Integrity Commission.” “The most worrying thing is that Gordon does not seem to admit or recognise any error of judgment at all in what he has done,” he added.
Gordon, he said, would also “continue to operate under this serious misapprehension as to what the true extent of what his powers are.” The AG found this “deeply troubling.” Asked if the Government’s confidence in Gordon was now in question, Ramlogan said he would reserve comment on that “until we have an opportunity to study the statement in its entirety.”
Ramlogan reiterated that Gordon had no special powers as chairman of a non-existent commission. Gordon is the only member of the commission to remain after the term of the other members expired in March. President Anthony Carmona is expected to appoint additional members soon. Ramlogan said he wanted to know why Gordon did not publish the name of the attorney who advised him in this matter earlier.
“Why operate in such a secretive manner when it is something that involves taxpayers’ money and public accountability and there ought to be transparency in the dealings?” he asked. He said important questions must be answered:
• Which commission requested the legal advice?
• Why was it requested?
• Why are you pre-emptively seeking legal advice on behalf of a non-existent commission?
The AG said the timing of the release of the name of the attorney (Deborah Peake, SC) was like “a well-timed dash of kerosene into a dying fire.” Ramlogan said Gordon had used the services of Opposition lawyers and the Government took issue with that. It would also be a matter of concern if the shoe were on the other foot as well, he said. The issue “would not blow away like a passing rain cloud,” Ramlogan said, as there were still too many unanswered questions.