QUESTIONS are being raised by the Opposition over the recusal of 19 ministers, including the Prime Minister, from Cabinet decisions on 210 occasions during the past six years.
Barataria/San Juan MP Saddam Hosein is asking what conflicts of interest – involving the individual or a family member – would have led to them recusing themselves so often when important decisions are being made.
He alleged that Dr Rowley recused himself seven times over the period September 2015 to January 2021, Finance Minister Colm Imbert – five times, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh – 13 times, Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan – 21 times, Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis – three times, and Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly twice.
From the United National Congress (UNC) virtual report platform on Monday night, Hosein said the population has a right to know the state of affairs as it relates to the Cabinet, starting with its head.
Responding to Hosein’s statements, Sinanan said the People’s National Movement (PNM), “sets a high bar for its members. Recusing yourself from any note where you may have an interest, or maybe a family member may have an interest, to me that is the most appropriate thing to do.
“Unfortunately, Saddam Hosein and his party don’t see anything in sitting and participating in decisions in which they would benefit from. The difference is that the PNM does set a very high standard, and all its MP’s do understand the importance of recusing when there may be a perceived benefit or a bias on any decision.”
Reading from a 29-page document obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) application, Hosein said Rowley recused himself from discussions on the award of a post-graduate scholarship for people who received honours at the bachelor’s level.
He called on Rowley to identify the beneficiaries of the award. Hosein also called on Gadsby-Dolly to explain why she recused herself when it came to the award of national scholarships and president medal awards based on the 2019 CAPE results.
He said Rowley recused himself from a Cabinet meeting when there was a revision for the job description for the position of programme manager, strategic management, Office of the Ministry of Finance in 2020. He called a name and asked Rowley to say if that person was related to him.