Opposition calls for TSTT board to be fired

Princes Town MP Barry Padarath - File photo
Princes Town MP Barry Padarath - File photo

THE Opposition UNC is calling for the firing of the Sean Roach board and management after the departure of TSTT CEO Lisa Agard over last month's cyber attack at the telecommunications company.

Princes Town MP Barry Padarath said Agard, who had held many government-appointed positions at TSTT, CNMG and Amplia, could not be the only one culpable in this matter.

At a UNC news briefing at the party’s Chaguanas headquarters on Wednesday, Padarath and questioned the circumstances surrounding Agard's “departure” and asked, “Was she fired, or did she resign?”

Padarath said that is a critical question which warrants an answer, “because blame needs to be appropriated to the most appropriate place.

“Therefore, the Minister of Public Utilities Marvin Gonzales and the board cannot absolve themselves from this situation and place blame squarely on Ms Agard.

“Did Lisa Agard walk out of TSTT's door with more than her pearls, agree to be a willing scapegoat in exchange that her contract would be bought out in the tune of millions, or was she used, blamed, and shamed by this administration, who has done nothing to protect the public interest?

“I am asking in the public interest. And in terms of transparency, did she get buy-out or was she bought out of her over-$2 million contract, or will she return to take the State to court for wrongful dismissal?”

Padarath chastised line minister Gonzales, who he said had been taking a hands-off approach to T&TEC, WASA and now TSTT, where over a million customers' data had been hacked.

For days, while this was happening, Padarath said, Gonzales was adamant that no cyber security breach took place, until cyber experts, the Opposition and ordinary men and women did their own investigations and proved him wrong.

“The government appoints the boards of WASA, T&TEC and TSTT. The government appoints the chairman and vice chairman of TSTT. Government has a say in the appointment of managers inside of TSTT. The policy of TSTT is directed because the majority shareholder is the Government.

“Therefore, when this cyber attack occurred, this breach, this dissemination of over one million customers' (information) on the dark web, it was the onus and responsibility of the management of TSTT, the board and Cabinet through line minister Marvin Gonzales. That is why we say the minister cannot wash his hands of this issue.”

Padarath said when the Parliament resumes, the Opposition will be moving a motion of privilege against Gonzales, "for wilfully or unwilfully, the minister will have to explain himself."

Supporting his colleague in the call for the TSTT board to go, MP Dr Roodal Moonilal said the UNC was privy to information that the chairman of the board, Sean Roach, had given certain instructions on handling information on the issue.

“One week later, they fire the lady (Agard) for not communicating with the public.”

The two were also critical of the Prime Minister, who left the country on Tuesday to attend the Caricom-Saudi Arabia Summit in Riyadh, Saudia Arabia, without speaking on the latest developments.

“The Prime Minister has jetted off to Saudi Arabia without addressing one of the most critical issues, that can be described as national treason against this country, without giving any comfort, any reassurance, any answers as to how this occurred, who were the players involved and what is the way going forward.”

He said while Attorney General Reginald Armour is now talking about the Budapest Convention, which TT signed on to, he lamented that the data protection legislation the PP administration introduced in 2011 has still not been fully implemented.

He accused the government of putting the country at risk by allowing this bill to lapse.

Moonilal underscored the need to reactivate and re-energise the JSC on cyber security and bipartisan committees to examine the public sector and industries to see what the challenges are and what they are doing about them.


"Opposition calls for TSTT board to be fired"

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