Well, it seems that former and present Ministers of Government can be hauled before the courts and fined. Why?
Many of them have failed to file their Declarations of Income, Assets and Liabilities and Statements of Interests.
The Integrity Commission has been threatening to haul these people before the courts for failing and/or refusing to file their returns which become due on May 31 of each year.
On Friday, in a public statement, the Integrity Commission says it intends going to the High Court seeking an order directing public officials to file their Declarations of Income, Assets and Liabilities and Statements of Registrable Interests for the period 2003-2014.
The Integrity Commission said it had published the names in the of those Persons in Public Life who failed to file their Declarations, in the newspapers in May this year, and quoted the law which states that : “The Commission may, at any time after the publication referred to in section (6), make an ex parte application to the High Court for an order directing such person to comply with the Act and the Court may in addition to making such an order, impose such conditions as it thinks fit.”
According to the law: “A person who fails to comply with the directions of the Court commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of $150,000.”
The Commission said the people who had failed to declare should do so without further delay.
A review of the notice shows that former PP Ministers and present PNM Ministers have failed to file despite repeated warnings. Many members of regional corporations – Point Fortin, Siparia, Chaguanas, Arima, Diego Martin, Port-of-Spain, San Juan/Laventille, and Sangre Grande, have not filed either.
The list also included the late Prime Minister Patrick Manning who did not file when he returned to the Opposition Benches between 2010 and 2014. Manning died on July 2 after a long illness.
The following is the list of some of the public officials who have failed to file their declarations, based on a notice published in the newspapers in May 2016.
Chaguanas Mayor Gopaul Boodan
Mrs. Rudrawatee Nan Gosine-Ramgoolam
Port-of-Spain Mayor Keron Valentine
Point Fortin Mayor Clyde Paul
Archbishop Barbara Burke
Arima Mayor George Hadeed
Former Port-of-Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee