Finance Minister has to wait

Chief Secretary, Orville London.
Finance Minister Larry Howai has to wait a little longer that the seven days for documents on the $143M MILSHIRV office complex at Shirvan, in southwest Tobago.

Howai had written THA Chief Secretary Orville London last week requesting the documents relating to the office complex being built for the Assembly under a BOLT (Build Own Lease Transfer) arrangement.

London said on Wednesday (31st October 2012) that under the laws and the T&T Constitution the Finance Minister has no authority to instruct him to provide information to him within any timeframe.

However, London said, in the interest of public disclosure and considering that this particular transaction has generated so much discussion he believed that he had a responsibility to make the information available to the public and the Minister.

London said he will send a letter to Howai on Thursday (1st November 2012) explaining the position and indicate to him that the various documents are being vetted by Senior Council and the THA Senior State Council following which the information will be made available to the public and to him.

London also disclosed at the weekly Post Executive Council media briefing on Wednesday (31st October 2012) that the Integrity Commission had written him requesting that the documents on the MILSHIRV office complex be produced within seven days.

The Tobago Chief Secretary said the Integrity Commission has the legal authority to so instruct and therefore that information will be made available to it within the seven days. He added that more or less the same information that was going to be made available in the public domain will be made available to the commission for it to continue its investigation.

London said he wanted to make it very clear that the decision not to submit the documents within seven days to Howai was by no means meant to prevent the information from being made public; “Quite the contrary, we want to ensure that at the same time the Minister has the information, the public has the information,” London added.

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