Flak for Jack from two Trinidad groups
Warner’s appointment as acting PM condemned by TTTI and Fixin’ T&T.
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Friday May 18, 2012 – Lobby group Fixin’ T&T has joined the Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI) in condemning the appointment of Austin “Jack” Warner as Acting Prime Minister while Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar visits Belize, the United States and Barbados.
The statement from Fixin' T&T said: "In the context of the several international and local allegations of corruption, Fixin' T&T categorically condemns the appointment of the Minister of Works and Infrastructure Jack Warner to the position of Acting Prime Minister. This latest development again brings into question the judgment of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
"We remind the Prime Minister and our citizens that Trinidad and Tobago is ranked 91 out of 183 countries on the Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index of 2011. On a scale of zero to ten with zero being the highest perception of corruption and ten being the lowest, T&T scored 3.2. By comparison, in 2010, T&T was ranked 73 out of 178 countries with a score of 3.6."
The group said Persad-Bissessar has a responsibility to vigorously guard the reputation of Trinidad and Tobago, and to demonstrate a commitment to ensuring the country becomes one that is associated with the highest standards of ethics and integrity, especially in light of "the promises and assurances of same made during the campaign of the People's Partnership in 2010".
Meanwhile, the TTTI said it was disappointed with the decision to select Warner to act as Prime Minister and called on the Government to demonstrate its commitment to the highest standards of governance by ensuring those who are given positions of leadership are beyond reproach.
"In particular, TTTI is concerned about the message that this appointment sends to our nation's youth about the people that are chosen to lead them. We do not believe that this appointment sends a positive message about the standards of behaviour and integrity that we expect from our leaders.
"We do not believe that this appointment sends a positive message about the equity with which the law is supposed to treat all citizens, especially to young men incarcerated in the Remand Prison where they await trial for relatively minor offences."
TTTI said the public cannot maintain confidence in the country's institutions if leaders are not held accountable to standards of behaviour that are above reproach.
"When we lose confidence in our institutions they can collapse, and become unable to meet their responsibilities. In these situations, the victims are the most vulnerable in our society, especially the poor and those who depend on the Government for support," the TTTI said.