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Sunday 18 March 2018

Rowley: No interference at EFCL, but intervention

HUGS FROM PM: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley hugs Morvant Anglican Primary School students Tfarah Homer and Tyra Lyons after they presented to him money raised by the school for children in Dominica which was devastated by Hurricane Irma. Rowley was at the Ministry of Education where children sang Christmas carols.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said as chairman of the Education Facilities Company Ltd (EFCL), Arnold Piggott must have known what he was talking about when he claimed government interference as the reason for his resignation.

Piggott told a parliamentary joint select committee on Monday that his decision came in light of a number of questions about contracts for school repairs and gross mismanagement by company officials. However, Rowley said there was no government interference. He was speaking after five schools from Morvant/Laventille treated the public to Christmas carols, hymns and steelpan music at the Education Ministry, St Vincent Street, Port of Spain.

At the committee meeting, Piggott alleged that during his 17-month-long stint at the EFCL, employees with political connections sought to undermine the operations of the company.

But Rowley said, “It appears that at least two people in the organisation had the ear of politicians and felt empowered to deal with matters based on that empowerment.

“What I do know is that the Government became aware of certain things that were happening that required investigative action, and such action was taken. I am sure if you have a misbehaving child, that child may accuse you of interference too. It all depends on what you call interference.

“As far as I am aware, and from where I am operating and the Ministry of Legal Affairs is operating, what we did was not interference, but intervention.”

Rowley said it would have been dereliction of duty to ignore that certain things were not going right and allegations were being made and just turn a blind eye.

“We are required to intervene, and if that intervention is called interference, or if there is interference, these need to be identified for what they are. But certainly, with the oversight of the Government, the Cabinet, the Attorney General’s office, I hope it is not being deemed as interference.”


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