Councillor for Valencia West Simone Gill-Joseph is demanding the immediate resignation of councillor for Cumuto/Tamana Anil Maharaj after allegations of misbehaviour in public.
PNM councillors at the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation Gill-Joseph and Paul Mongolas (Sangre Grande North-East) held a press conference on Monday at the Duranta Gardens Community Centre, Sangre Grande.
“We call on UNC political leader Kamla Persad Bissessar to take whatever action is deemed necessary to assist in preserving the integrity and decency of the distinguished Sangre Grande Regional Corporation,” said Gill-Joseph.
On Thursday, the police issued a statement that said Maharaj – also chairman of the corporation's committee on finance, planning and allocation of resources – was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Investigations Bureau (ACIB).
The statement said the charges stem from an investigation into an alleged incident at the corporation on June 30.
Gill-Joseph pointed out the charge said Maharaj demanded money from a contractor at the corporation.
“It is our view that these allegations are directly related to his job as councillor and as such it is in the best interest of the people of Cumuto/Tamana and, by extension, the region that the councillor resigns with immediate effect, pending the outcome of the case.”
She said three motions were filed at the corporation: a motion of no confidence, a motion to revoke and democratically fill the position of both councillor and chairman of the finance committee, and a motion for Maharaj’s resignation.
“These motions require a simple majority to be carried, and yet we expect good sense will prevail from the remaining 11 members of council, particularly the chairman of the corporation as he…is expected to do so. Not for party, but for the betterment of all burgesses.”
She said to preserve the integrity of the relationship between the corporation and its burgesses, Maharaj should use his “ethical and moral judgement and resign with immediate effect.”
She also said while she has not yet spoke to all the councillors, the PNM councillors for the area are “severely disappointed.”
“We have lost trust in our colleague. We would hope that UNC council members feel the same way we do, because we are all in this as one council.”