T&T Transparency Director: Firing of Justice Minister justified
(Trinidad Guardian) Director of Transparency International’s chapter in T&T (TTTI) Deryck Murray is commending Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for taking swift action to fire former justice minister Herbert Volney. Murray was one of the stakeholders who attended a forum hosted yesterday by the Integrity Commission titled Review of the Integrity in Public Life Act. It was held at the Hyatt Regency.
The Prime Minister announced on Thursday night that she had axed Volney, accusing him of “serious misrepresentation” to the Cabinet in relation to an August 6 note in which he requested the early proclamation of Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act.
She said she had decided to do so after meeting and receiving a written report and notes from Chief Justice (CJ) Ivor Archie, as well as Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard, SC, on Wednesday, in the course of her own inquiry into Volney’s representations to the Cabinet on August 6 that he had consulted both men on the early proclamation of Section 34.
“It was very good that the Prime Minister made this statement that she did, and which we and a number of other organisations had been calling for,” Murray said. He described it as a “good first step” towards clearing up the matter. However, he said there were several other issues the PM must address.
He asked: “Certainly in terms of going forward…what is the state of the pending prosecution? What happens next? Is that the final straw? Is it one person who was responsible for everything that has taken place? “There surely has to be follow-up action and we wait to see that over the next few days,” Murray added.
He said the TTTI recently met with the Prime Minister and they discussed a number of issues, including procurement legislation and political party funding. “There are a number of things that have to be done,” he said. “They may not all be done in the next week, but obviously we would hope to see those being addressed, particularly as we are part of a civil-society group that have tabled the procurement legislation for a new procurement system. “We would certainly like to see that given priority in the next sitting of Parliament,” Murray urged.