Political Leader of the Tobago Forwards, Christlyn Moore says the failure of the Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles to appear before the Joint Select Committee of Parliament on Land and Physical Infrastructure into procurement and maintenance of the inter-island ferries last Wednesday, sends the message that the THA is accountable to no one.
“By not attending the THA has basically said that they take instructions from no one, not central government, not the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, not the electorate from Trinidad and Tobago; it takes instructions from no one.
“That is a bad signal to send, particularly when you are asking for more power to be given to you,” Moore said in a telephone interview with Newsday Tobago.
She noted that a person appears before the JSC for three reasons, “to clear your name, that you have received instructions from your line Minister, and because you are a patriotic citizen and you want to add your information to the national discourse.”
She said that if one is summoned and doesn’t attend a sitting, “the implication is that you don’t care what they say about you so you’ve decided not to clear your name, you are not a patriotic citizen because you have decided to keep the information that you have to yourself and not share it with the national public and you cannot be directed, no one can instruct you.”
Charles failure to appear before the JSC also caused Committee member, Wade Mark, to express his disappointment.
“I just want to put on record my utter disappointment based upon what the Chairman read via correspondence, the failure of the Chief Secretary to grace us with his presence so we could have heard from the Chief Secretary
of the Tobago House of Assembly on this whole matter of these vessels and the crisis,” Mark said.
Chairman of the committee, Stephen Creese, read into Hansard a letter signed by THA Legal Counsel Alvin Pascall on Charles’ non-appearance:
“The Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly, the Honourable Kelvin Charles confirms safe receipt of your missive dated 24th day of August 2017, the content of which is noted. I am instructed to inform you that the Tobago House of Assembly will not be represented at the sitting of the Parliamentary Committee on Land and Physical Infrastructure fixed for Wednesday 6th September 2017 at the Victor E Bruce Financial Complex, Scarborough, Tobago.
“As you are no doubt aware, the management of the airport and seaport of Trinidad and Tobago falls under the
purview of the central government and its agents, the Board of Directors.
“In view of the above, I shall appreciate you communicating our non-attendance to Chairman Senator Stephen Creece, Esquire and thank him for the opportunity afforded to the Tobago House of Assembly in this connection.”