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Saturday 22 September 2018
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PM: Friendship not reason for Baksh’s appointment

Dr Keith Rowley

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said his friendship with A&V Oil and Gas Ltd owner Nazim Baksh was not the reason he chose Baksh’s daughter Allyson as a government senator.

Asked this question during a television interview on Wednesday night, Rowley declared, “Certainly not.” On November 26, the Office of the Prime Minister issued a statement that Allyson Baksh had resigned as a government senator. She was first appointed in September 2015. The statement said Rowley accepted her resignation and thanked her for her service.

Rowley said Baksh made a personal decision to resign, and given the allegations made against her father in the fake oil scandal at Petrotrin, Baksh acted properly. Saying certain people hoped he would lie about his friendship with Nazim Baksh, Rowley said, “They were disappointed I did not lie about it. I have nothing to hide.” Reiterating he did nothing wrong in calling Nazim Baksh when news of the scandal first broke, Rowley said, “I took no action. If I had taken an action, it would be a different story.”

Earlier, in the House of Representatives, Rowley said Petrotrin was following due process in dealing with the fake oil scandal. “I am not the judge and jury on Mr Baksh,” the Prime Minister said.

Rowley reiterated that his administration would provide no comfort or protection to anyone believed to be involved in corruption. Against this background, he expressed disappointment that whistle-blower legislation brought to Parliament last year remained before a joint select committee, but was optimistic it would be passed during the Government’s term.

Rowley also said he was not getting involved in a matter in which a sexual harassment complaint was filed against Angostura chairman Dr Rolph Balgobin. A report by former high court judge Rolston Nelson cleared Balgobin of any wrongdoing.

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