Francis, PM reject PEP claims of misconduct

People’s Empowerment Party (PEP) political leader Phillip Edward Alexander. FILE PHOTO
People’s Empowerment Party (PEP) political leader Phillip Edward Alexander. FILE PHOTO

MINISTER of State in the Education Ministry Dr Lovell Francis on Saturday dismissed a claim from PEP political leader Phillip Edward Alexander that he could be guilty of misconduct in public life regarding his trip to Guadeloupe in August 2018 and the staging of the Karukera One Love Festival at Maracas Beach on Friday.

Alexander wrote to Commissioner of Police (CoP) Gary Griffith, asking the police to investigate Francis in the matter.

In response, Francis said, "The very idea is absurd."

"What about it gives a sense of misconduct? Which aspect? How could I possibly promote the stage in the sea? Does the Ministry of Education grant approvals?" he asked.

Francis, who is also Moruga/Tableland MP, asked if "the stage was in Moruga."

"The logic escapes me. As it should anyone." Francis, who attended the Karukera, reiterated that everything he has said to date on this matter is the truth.

The Prime Minister also rejected claims of misconduct against Francis.

Rowley said, "Dr Francis went to Guadeloupe with the full authorisation and the approval of the Cabinet."

"This means that any insinuation to the contrary is rubbish."

At Thursday's post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann's, Rowley said Cabinet did something "we don't usually do and that is to have a minister travel at the expense of a private entity."

"This opens the door for complications and expectations as we have seen here." On Thursday, Rowley said the situation was mishandled by allowing Francis to accept an invitation to go to Guadeloupe which was not funded by the public or an international agency which TT belongs to.

Rowley said, "I do not know that he erred. He made the approved exchange visit." He also said Karukera was organised by private people, these people did not get all their approvals and construction of the stage on the sea was stopped. Rowley said, "Dr Francis does not grant approval and wasn't a participant in organising a fete."

Griffith made no comment as to whether or not he received Alexander's letter.

"Why would I inform a third party if someone sent correspondence to me?" he asked. Griffith added, "Confidentiality has not gone out the window, in my chair."

On Thursday, Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat dismissed claims of a rift between Francis and himself over Karukera. Rambharat explained he had a duty to intervene and instruct the Commissioner of State Lands to stop the construction of the stage on the seabed.


"Francis, PM reject PEP claims of misconduct"

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