Noting that the commission chairman’s tenure has repeatedly been brought under question due to ill-timed statements made by him (St Cyr), Warner also issued a letter to St Cyr calling on him to step down.
“It is with great regret and sadness that as chairman of the United National Congress and Minister of Works and Transport that I call upon you to revoke the appointment of Dr Eric St Cyr as chairman of the Integrity Commission,” Warner wrote to the President.
“His premature pronouncements on the use of an alternative residence by the Prime Minister is not simply a lapse in judgement but rather a clear manifestation of an open bias that seems to favour not just the People’s National Movement but its current leader, Dr Keith Rowley,” Warner wrote.
Earlier in the past week, St Cyr told reporters that Persad-Bissessar should have stayed at a hotel and not at the private residence of a friend when she was making the transition into office in the wake of the May 24, 2010 General Election. St Cyr, who was appointed by the President during the then PNM government, yesterday declined comment to Newsday.
This is not the first time St Cyr has courted controversy on sensitive issues within recent times.
Amidst controversy over the award of a contract to former planning minister Mary King, St Cyr broke the commission’s tradition of silence over the status of investigations when he revealed in a press report that the commission had initiated an investigation into King, on its own initiative.
In June 2010, Warner wrote a letter of complaint over remarks St Cyr made on the issue of whether or not Warner could have served as a Government Minister, Member of Parliament and also as a FIFA vice-president.
“This is not the first lapse of judgement by Dr Eric St Cyr. As a matter of fact this is the second time in less than a year since this Government was elected into office that Dr St Cyr has provoked the ire of the national community and also again this is the second time his premature pronouncements seem to be intended to give credibility to statements made by Dr Keith Rowley,” Warner argued in his letter to the President.
“His premature statements were untimely and baseless because based on his own volition, he admits that they were without investigation and made in the absence of knowledge.”
“Since Dr Eric St Cyr has failed on not one occasion but two in less than one year, it appears therefore that he lacks the ability to appreciate the importance of dispensing opinions in a manner that instils confidence in the national community,” Warner said.“Dr St Cyr has brought the Integrity Commission into disrepute and it is difficult for us not to believe that his own statements as Chairman is not a reflection of the thinking of the entire Commission even though he claims not to speak on their behalf; after all as Chairman he is the spokesperson for the Commission, he too should face the natural consequences for his action.”
“It is as a result of this uncertainty, the seeming compromise of Dr. Eric St. Cyr’s own integrity, his lack of restraint and judgment and the apparition of an alliance with the Leader of the Opposition, that it is my firm view and that of my colleagues that he is unfit to hold the Office of Chairman of the Integrity Commission,” Warner told the President.
In his letter to St Cyr, Warner told the chairman: “Always you seek to bring turbulence to already troubled waters and rather than exercise restraint and discretion as your office requires, you act to provoke the ire of the national community and disrupt the peace and goodwill which the Government is seeking to cultivate.”
“What for me is most disturbing is the fact that your actions demonstrate a clear conflict of interest and what is even worse is that as the official spokesperson for the Integrity Commission one cannot be sure, in spite of what you may suggest, that your opinion is not the collective opinion of the Integrity Commission and for this compromise alone Dr St Cyr, your resignation will be most welcomed.”
Warner’s letters to the President and St Cyr, came on the same day that the Indo-Trinbago Equality Council (ITEC) lodged a complaint with the Equal Opportunities Commission against St Cyr and a letter by the UNC constituency of Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial, calling for St Cyr’s resignation.