Duke, MPs explain delay in filing Integrity declarations

Sev­er­al stand­ing mem­bers of Par­lia­ment, sen­a­tors and state board mem­bers were list­ed as hav­ing failed to sub­mit doc­u­ments de­clar­ing their in­come, as­sets and li­a­bil­i­ties for the year 2017.

Ac­cord­ing to the In­tegri­ty in Pub­lic Life Act, “A per­son shall, with­in three months of be­com­ing a per­son in pub­lic life, com­plete and file with the Com­mis­sion in the pre­scribed form, a de­c­la­ra­tion of his in­come, as­sets and li­a­bil­i­ties that ex­ceed ten thou­sand dol­lars in val­ue in re­spect of the pre­vi­ous year and, there­after, on 31st May in each suc­ceed­ing year that he is a per­son in pub­lic life, he shall file fur­ther de­c­la­ra­tions of his in­come, as­sets and li­a­bil­i­ties.”

 

In 2018, an ex­ten­sion was grant­ed for per­sons who had failed to pro­vide a de­c­la­ra­tion by the May 31 cut off date.

MPs Adri­an Leonce, Dar­ryl Smith, Cher­rie-Ann Crichlow-Cock­burn, Max­ie Cuffie, An­tho­ny Gar­cia, and Fitzger­ald Hinds were among those named on the list while sen­a­tors Clarence Ramb­harat, Allyson West and Franklin Khan were al­so named.

When con­tact­ed Gar­cia ad­mit­ted that he had been tardy in re­quest­ing the bank doc­u­ments and ac­cept­ed re­spon­si­bil­i­ty for fail­ing to com­ply.

He said he was ex­pect­ed to file the doc­u­ments lat­er this week.

West, who was ap­point­ed as a Min­is­ter in the Min­istry of Fi­nance on June 2017, said she was await­ing in­for­ma­tion from her pre­vi­ous em­ploy­er which she re­ceived yes­ter­day, and she would be fil­ing for 2017 next week.

Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Ramb­harat said there had been a mi­nor is­sue with his doc­u­men­ta­tion, but said that it should have been cor­rect­ed by now.

“There are two forms to be filed. The State­ment of Reg­is­tra­ble In­ter­ests (Form B) is a sum­ma­ry of what is in the longer more de­tailed Form A. For the year 2017 I filed Form A but some­how omit­ted to file Form B. That has since been cor­rect­ed,” said Ramb­harat via text yes­ter­day.

Guardian Me­dia was un­able to con­tact Leonce, Smith, and Crichlow-Cock­burn while Laven­tille West MP Fitzger­ald Hinds de­clined to com­ment.

Chief Sec­re­tary of the To­ba­go House of As­sem­bly Kelvin Charles and Mi­nor­i­ty Leader Wat­son Duke were al­so list­ed.

Charles could not be reached for com­ment but Duke said his doc­u­ments were com­plet­ed. He, how­ev­er, felt the Com­mis­sion should be more avail­able to the per­sons in pub­lic of­fice.

“All of my doc­u­ments have been com­plet­ed and they are ready for fil­ing but I think the In­tegri­ty Com­mis­sion has to do a lot more to make it­self more promi­nent. I don’t know where they are, there are some in some lit­tle dark cor­ner of Port of Spain hid­ing,” said Duke, “All my fil­ings are up to date.”

“They ought to be on the front line, they ought to be ac­ces­si­ble be­cause most of the time the per­sons who have to fill out these forms are very busy peo­ple. I have no time to be walk­ing around look­ing for In­tegri­ty com­mis­sion­er,” the mi­nor­i­ty leader said.

For­mer UNC sen­a­tor Wayne Sturge was al­so list­ed, but he said his name be­ing list­ed was prob­a­bly cor­rect as he did not file doc­u­ments in 2017.

Sturge said by that time he was no longer serv­ing as a sen­a­tor.

Reporter: Peter Christopher

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