T&T Integrity Commission head stands firm on secret meeting with Rowley

(Trinidad Express) In the face of a raging controversy over his meeting with Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley at his personal residence, Integrity Commission chairman Ken Gordon is certain he did the right thing.

In an interview with the Express yesterday, Gordon was asked whether he had made any decision of any kind as a result of the criticisms which have been levelled at his decision to meet Rowley, and his response was: “I am observing the incredulous developments.”

Asked why he described the developments as “incredulous”, he said he would explain if and when he decides to make a statement. He said at present, he was thinking about whether he should make a statement and did not want to say much more.

Asked whether he was also giving thought to whether he should remain at the Integrity Commission, he replied that any statement he makes would take everything (including that issue) into account.

“My one major concern in all this is that there should be minimum harm to the Integrity Commission. The Integrity Commission has come out of a very difficult period and it is working its way well, and I fear that any prolonged situation here is likely to affect it adversely, and that is the thing that is occupying my mind, more than anything else.

“For myself, this really doesn’t bother me. The truth is that I know absolutely that I did the right thing. And my concern would be how far anything may affect the commission adversely. That’s basically my concern,” he said.

The Express began a question, saying: “You said you were absolutely certain that you did the right thing. On second thought or with the knowledge of hindsight, would…? Gordon interjected, saying: “Let me interrupt you. If I decide to make a statement I would say all those things. You are seeking to get the statement from me before I am ready.”

Asked whether he was prepared to say who was the Senior Counsel who gave the advice that the Integrity Commission had the jurisdiction to investigate the e-mails, Gordon said: “There is no magic about that. That is not an issue…. Who the Senior Counsel is is not an issue as far as I am concerned”.

Told that the Attorney General had raised the issue, pointing out it would be important information if the Integrity Commission had used one of the same lawyers representing Rowley at the Privileges Committee or in his matters before the court, Gordon said: “That’s nonsense!”

Asked to respond to the serious allegation of the Attorney General that “when one connects the dots, it reveals a frightening picture of an attempt by high office-holders to topple the Government”, Gordon stated: “If that in any way relates to me that is the height of absurdity, and you can quote me on that.”

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan yester­day confirmed Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar had written to President Anthony Carmona on the issue but could not say what the details of the correspondence were.

Gordon and Rowley met at Gordon’s home on May 15, five days before Rowley revealed explosive information alleging a Section 34 conspiracy among high Government office-holders, obtained from e-mails purported to have been exchanged among them.

Rowley had stated in his contribution that the Integrity Commission was the best avenue for investigation of the matter. But he did not reveal to the Parliament that he had met Gordon. That information came last Thursday from Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal.

Since then, Government has condemned the meeting, has stated it raised many questions and has lambasted the Opposition Leader.

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