The Ocean Flower 2 bacchanal … “DON’T INSULT OUR INTELLIGENCE”

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THE EDITOR: Here we are, once again, having our intelligence insulted and watching the PNM investigate itself.

Nothing short of an independent and public inquiry will suffice since the public has a right to know the details surrounding this Administration’s decision to lease the Cabo Star and Ocean Flower and the entering into a charter party for these vessels.

The Prime Minister’s decision to appoint Christian Mouttet as Sole Investigator in the Ferry/Seabridge scandal is nothing short of an attempt of a whitewash because I will not be surprise if this report has already been written and Mouttet’s unpalatable role will be an attempt at sanitization!

Keith Rowley’s decision is another PNM distraction.

Nothing short of an independent and public inquiry will suffice since the public has a right to know the details surrounding this Administration’s decision to lease the Cabo Star and Ocean Flower and the entering into a charter party for these vessels.

It’s a classic case of “himself investigating himself” since Rowley, who micromanages his Administration’s major financial transactions, would have sat as Head of the Cabinet when these decisions were being made. It is further baffling that he will want an “outside independent investigator” to scrutinize the main decisions of the award of these contracts since he was (most likely) in the Chair when such decisions were being discussed and taken.

Added to this, Rowley has told Mouttet that legal assistance will come from the Attorney General, not independent counsel. In other words, Mouttet must accept any “legal advice/guidance” from Faris Al-Rawi, a straight case of political manipulation of the investigation.

Does Mouttet have the authority to subpoena any witnesses or documents or to seek the services of an independent investigator; can Mouttet summon Fitzgerald Hinds, Rohan Sinanan, Colm Imbert or Keith Rowley himself; can he demand individuals who are potential witnesses to make themselves available to him, or does he have to follow the “instructions” of Al-Rawi?

The nation deserves to know under what legal authority was this appointment made as such an investigation should fall under the remit of either the Integrity Commission or a Commission of Enquiry, which no doubt Keith Rowley knows very well.

But who is Christian Mouttet and what are his credentials as an investigator? His public profile states he is the CEO of the Victor E. Mouttet Limited Group with executive level experience in finance and marketing.

Shouldn’t the population deserve to know whether he or any member of his Group were financiers of the PNM. This needs to be clarified to ensure there is no perception of a conflict of interest or perceived bias on his part.

This action by the Government will cause the population to question the legitimacy of such an important investigation as too often the perception of corruption and nepotism isn’t dealt in a manner which instills confidence.

Successive PNM-led Administrations have never been forthcoming in not only what they do but the hows, whys and whens with handling the country’s finances.

Here we are, once again, having our intelligence insulted and watching the PNM investigating itself.

I suspect nothing of substance will come out of this so-called investigation; if anything, I expect Mouttet’s report will produce nothing and no politician will be held liable… maybe a couple of civilians might end up being made the scapegoats.

At best, we may get some “new procedures” being put in place to ensure “it doesn’t happen again.”

Capil Bissoon

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CAPIL BISSOON

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