Rowley: Jack in breach of Parliament code

He also asked the Commission to ask Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to indicate whether Warner will remain president of Concacaf and special adviser to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation because both bodies continuously lobby Government “for allocations of not insignificant sums for the necessary promotion of football”.

Rowley said the potential for conflict is clearly evident, when it is taken into account that Warner has “definite, known, personal and business connections” with both entities.

In his letter to the commission, Rowley said it was widely reported in the media that Warner said he would resign the chairmanship of several FIFA committees but retain his core function of FIFA vice-president.

Describing the issue as a matter of “grave public importance,” Rowley said, “As a parliamentarian since 1987, I have always understood there to be a convention of Parliament that Cabinet Ministers must arrange their private interests, whether pecuniary or otherwise, in such a manner as to maintain public confidence and trust.”

Rowley added that it was also established practice in Trinidad and Tobago that the position of a government minister is “a full time assignment to the business of the people of TT.”

“In practical terms, this norm is manifested by Cabinet Ministers resigning all external portfolios or positions and submitting themselves to the full time employment of the Government of TT,” he said.

Rowley referred the commission to section six of the Code of Ethics for Parliamentarians which speaks to the obligations of ministers. Section six of the code states that ministers shall resign directorships in all companies; cease to engage in professional practice and cease to be involved in the daily routine work of any business.

Rowley also referred to Section 24 (1c) and (2b) of the Integrity Act which directs persons in public life to arrange their private interests (pecuniary and otherwise) in a manner to maintain public trust and not to engage in any transaction or have any commercial or other interest that is incompatible with their office and the discharge of their duty.

Rowley said on appointment to public office and thereafter, persons in public life should arrange their private affairs in such a manner that will prevent any real, potential or apparent conflicts of interest from arising.

“Persons in public office should act with the highest ethical standards so that public confidence and trust in the integrity, objectivity and impartiality of government are conserved and enhanced,” he declared.

Noting that the country’s supreme law recognises that freedom is founded upon respect for moral and spiritual values and the rule of law, Rowley said, “Political prudence demands that Cabinet Ministers must lead by example and ensure that they perform their duties and arrange their private affairs in a way that will bear the closest public scrutiny, an obligation that is not fully discharged by simply acting within the letter of the law.”

He reiterated that the accepted parliamentary convention was for Cabinet ministers to relinquish all other portfolios and positions to ensure the maintenance of “the highest principles of transparent, ethical and accountable government”.

Rowley asked the commission to consider this matter and issue the appropriate guidance to Persad-Bissessar and other public officials “so as to ensure public confidence and trust in the integrity of the Government of TT”.


"Rowley: Jack in breach of Parliament code"

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