Rowley calls for removal of Udecott board

Sunday Newsday understands that the order was scanned and e-mailed to Uff one hour after it was made by High Court Judge Justice Mira Dean-Armorer at about 11.30 am on Friday.

Yesterday Diego Martin West MP Dr Keith Rowley called on Prime Minister Patrick Manning to remove the entire Udecott board, as the outcry over the virtual freezing of the inquiry by the order issued on Friday continued.

Noting that Udecott appears to be acting in defiance of the wishes of Attorney General John Jeremie, Rowley said Jeremie’s position has now been rendered “untenable” by the actions of the Udecott legal team. The team, on Friday, negotiated a consent order with lawyers for the inquiry which now bars Uff from preparing a final report.

“Given what Udecott has done his position as Attorney General is now untenable,” Rowley said. “It is inconceivable that in a Commonwealth, Westminster styled democracy an Attorney General’s position could be so compromised by a state enterprise without a significant reaction from the Government. The Attorney General has been defied, his assurances to the Parliament have been nullified and he is now to decide which side of the coin he stands on.”

Of Friday’s negotiations in the Port-of-Spain High Court, Rowley said, “one must take note that the consent order came after discussions outside of the court among lawyers.”

“From what source does Udecott get its power to defy the Attorney General who had given a commitment to the Parliament of the country that the proceedings would not have been stayed? It should be clear now that Udecott is not only a runaway horse and a sacred cow but it may be a criminal empire supported by a person or persons who have the authority to give instructions to lawyers over the head of the Attorney General.”

“This situation has the potential to stain our party, our Government and our country. The Prime Minister must act now to remove the rogue board if the Attorney General must save face,” Rowley said. “If this matter is not withdrawn from the court immediately, then the responsibility is no longer on the shoulders of the board of Udecott but at the doorstep of the Prime Minister who has consistently provided Udecott with support, sustenance and defence.”

Rowley’s comments came as the Opposition yesterday indicated that they were seeking legal advice on possible legal measures to be used to bring Prime Minister Patrick Manning to act against Udecott.

Caroni East MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh yesterday said, “We are examining the possibility of what legal action we can take. Is this a question of misconduct in public office by the Prime Minister who has the ability to fire the entire board. Why is the Ministry of Finance funding the lawyers to fight the State?”


"Rowley calls for removal of Udecott board"

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