The motion called for Prime Minister Patrick Manning to revoke Tesheira’s appointment as Finance Minister. Persad-Bissessar’s motion followed a long-awaited and comprehensive statement by Tesheira in which she categorically denied any wrongdoing regarding her interests in the CL Financial Group, before she signed a memorandum of understanding with chairman Lawrence Duprey. Persad-Bissessar, dressed in a bright yellow African outfit to mark the Shouter Baptist Liberation Day observance, told the House that she had written to the DPP’s office asking that the matter be thoroughly investigated.
She said she received a response from Brown-Antoine, dated March 20, “regarding your request for an investigation into a possible breach of the Prevention for Corruption Act by the Tesheira and the Governor of the Central Bank Ewart Williams.” Persad-Bissessar read Browne-Antoine’s response to members. “Having reviewed the material provided by you, I am of the view that an investigation is warranted in this matter,” Persad-Bissessar quoted Brown-Antoine as saying in the letter. The statement received loud desk-thumping from the UNC bench.
Persad-Bissessar continued: “While I appreciate that your letter was also addressed to the Commissioner of Police, I have also referred this matter to the commissioner for investigation.” She said she was heartened that there were still independent institutions acting in good faith in the country.
“It is fortunate that there are independent institutions in this land although the Prime Minister is trying every which way he can to subvert those independent offices,” she said. Persad-Bissessar said Tesheira had created history.
“When I read that [Brown-Antoine’s letter], I want to say congratulations to Madam Minister. “Once again you have created history. Not only are you the first finance minister to have engaged in such blatant, unapologetic criminality, but you are the first to also have a criminal investigation spurred on by the first female DPP to be launched against you.”