|AG calls for Gordon to resign |
Sunday, November 17 2013
Attoney General Anand Ramlogan yesterday called for Ken Gordon to resign as chairman of the Integrity Commission as he condemed what he said was the attempt by Gordon to “pass the buck” regarding notifying the AG that an investigation has been launched into the registration and licensing of the two Range Rovers.
Responding to the failure to notify Ramlogan of the probe, Gordon had said “all complaints are dealt with through the process with the Registrar, who has a whole department set up to do this”. Two days ago, on November 14, the Commission informed Ramlogan by letter that an investigation had been launched and issued an apology for the failure to notify him. This followed letters to the Commission, seeking information on whether any investigation was taking place.
In the release issued yesterday, the AG stated:
“In a stunning and unusual departure from the established practice and procedure, the Commission failed to notify the AG that he was the subject of an investigation and give him an opportunity to defend himself. This is contrary to the rules of natural justice and tantamount to a Judge hearing the prosecution’s case alone without bothering to even inform the defendant that he’s on trial far less, give him an opportunity to present his defence.”
Ramlogan yesterday described Gordon’s explanation regarding the tardiness of the letter as “hypocritical and disingenuous”, reminded of a recent meeting between Gordon and Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley at the former’s home at night to receive a complaint.
“He did not refer him (Rowley) to the Registrar. It is strange that this procedure was not followed in that instance,” the AG said in his release. He also contended that “this attempt to ‘pass the buck’ and lay blame on the Registrar of the Commission begs the question whether any disciplinary action will be taken against those who are guilty of suppressing this important letter.
“The burning question remains ‘Who is to blame for this serious breach and violation of the legal right of the AG to be informed about this investigation?’
“As Chairman, Mr Gordon is ultimately responsible for the work of the Commission. The buck stops with him. He must accept responsibility for the serious violation and breach that has occurred and come clean on this matter.” Ramlogan demanded a full account and explanation of what led to the suppression of the letter from the Commission informing him of the investgation.
“It is highly improper and unfair for a person to be investigated without them being informed of the allegation far less given the opportunity to defend themself,” he noted.
The AG contended that “this fiasco will compromise the integrity and independence of the Integrity Commission which appears to aggressively pursue complaints against members of the Government without informing them (Udecott Chairman Jearlean John was also treated in a similar manner) whilst it conversely drags its feet on complaints made by the Government against others.
“Mr Gordon was forced to disqualify himself from the investigation into email-gate on the ground of apparent political bias. His leadership and independence has once again been called into question.
“This latest fiasco will cause irreparable damage and harm to the independence and integrity to the Integrity Commission. It will further erode public confidence and intensify the perception that the Commission is biased against the Government. In the circumstances,the AG calls upon Mr Ken Gordon to follow the example set by his predecessor Mr Eric St Cyr who, when faced with a similar situation, tendered his resignation. This is the decent and honourable thing to do to avoid further embarrassment and damage to the Commission,” the AG contended.
See Page 8A