Tobago chamber head: Farley’s public briefing opened Pandora’s box
Farley’s public briefing – Tobago chamber head: Farley’s public briefing opened Pandora’s box
THE Tobago Business Chamber believes THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine’s pre-recorded public briefing on Friday has opened a Pandora’s Box.
“The public briefing from Farley Augustine ranged from the absurd to the bizarre to the theatre of the macabre with unspecified allegations against individuals, allegations of victimisation, of trying to strong arm him, of trying to blackmail him and it just went on and on in a wide-ranging, rambling diatribe, which really ended up raising more questions than answers and actually opened a Pandora’s Box of other issues,” chamber chairman Martin George said on Saturday in a WhatsApp voice note.
George could not say if, implicit in Augustine’s statement, was an admission that he was one of the people speaking in the voice note.
“He seems, to me, that he admitted that the voice note was genuine, he seemed to allege that it was leaked by a former comrade of his, who has since denied doing so.
“Mr Augustine himself seemed to acknowledge and accept the validity and authenticity of the voice note. So therefore, in those circumstances and in the circumstances of him not denying that he was one of the speakers and the participants in the said voce note, it raises several moral, ethical, and legal questions for him as leader of the House of Assembly and in fact leader of Tobago’s business.”
Augustine did not categorically state that he was in fact, one of the people in the voice recording.
George said if the Chief Secretary was actually a participant in the discussion on the recording, then there are legal questions to be answered.
“A legal question may arise as to whether this was a conspiracy to defraud the public purse, whether it was a conspiracy for misbehaviour in public office, whether it was a conspiracy to seek to use public funds for private political gain.”
George said Augustine’s briefing “does not inspire any sort of confidence that Tobago is on the right track or that the persons in charge of the public purse in Tobago really have the best interest of Tobago or Tobagonians at heart.”
He wondered if the island was functioning on autopilot.
George also noted that Augustine could be the subject of a lawsuit.
“There are issues as to if his ‘media release’ opens the door for him to now be subject to litigation from this supposed contractor who he referred to or maybe litigation from Watson Duke himself.
“There is the question of whether it now opens the door for criminal litigation because the Anti-Corruption Investigations Bureau is in Tobago investigating this matter, and if it is you almost have an admission as to the authenticity of the voice note and you are not denying that you are one of the voices there, then it raises all sorts of legal issues for Mr Augustine.”
George was uncertain as to whether Augustine made things “better or worse for himself” by hosting a public briefing.
He said Tobago does not appear to be in a very good place at this point.
“It really makes you wonder if these individuals are given the greater autonomy that they are seeking, what is going to happen ultimately to Tobago because if you can’t be trusted even with a little bit of power, what would happen if you end up having absolute power and authority and control over the affairs of Tobago. These are indeed very troubling questions at very troubling times in the history of Tobago.”
Farley’s public briefing- Tobago chamber head: Farley’s public briefing opened Pandora’s box
BY: COREY CONNELLY