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PNM senator: Audio recording no nine-day wonder

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PNM senator: Audio recording no nine-day wonder

PNM senator: Audio recording no nine-day wonder

PNM SENATOR Laurence Hislop has said the controversial audio recording of two THA officials allegedly discussing using state funds to hire people to carry out a social media propaganda campaign will not be a “nine-day wonder.”

Chief Secretary Farley Augustine addressed the issue last Friday, in a pre-recorded public briefing, alleging a contractor was responsible for the audio leak.

He also alleged that weeks before, the contractor had threatened to release the recording if the THA did not pay the money it owed to his company.

On the Minority Report on Tuesday night, Hislop said the issue did not go away after Augustine’s briefing.

“I want to say to the population of Tobago, this incident is not a nine-day wonder,” he said.

Hislop, who is also the Tobago Council PRO, urged people to remove the PNM from the issue and look at the situation objectively. He said prominent people were speaking out about the recording.

“Look at some of the people who are coming out and stating that this thing is madness.”

He cited retired head of the public service Reginald Dumas and head of the Tobago Business Chamber and attorney Martin George as being among the “respected voices” criticising the recording.

Hislop believes the audio clip cannot be ignored.

“Some people want to downplay it and it’s unfortunate. I hope that the people who are downplaying it, when the investigations are done and the possibility of charges could be faced, that these people will recognise how serious this is.

“We have our Chief Secretary under investigation. How could you downplay that? If this was a PNM chief secretary, what would be the call?”

THA Minority Leader Kelvon Morris said the Chief Secretary constantly contradicted himself.

“This is a chief secretary that was telling us before the election that they were going to take a zero-tolerance stance on corruption, but in his pre-recorded briefing, he said, ‘We were looking at all avenues’ (to carry out the plan). How could we trust somebody like this?”

He added, “The person the Chief Secretary purports himself to be and the person the Chief Secretary is are two different people completely.”

Morris believes: “There is enough information in the public space and enough information known to the Minority to prove that certain actions actually happened.

“So I want to tell the Chief Secretary that just like the voice note that we believe was done in the dead of the night and nobody knows, there is other information available to the Minority that will prove that you did take action, and we will assist the police.”

He insisted the nature of the conversation was criminal.

“You were planning to misuse public funds…You took some steps towards implementing the plan and you just found out that perhaps you shouldn’t really take the action to put it into train. But you have already taken steps to have it done. This is where the Chief Secretary will find himself in a lot of problems.”

The Anti-Corruption Investigations Bureau and the Integrity Commission are investigating.

PNM senator: Audio recording no nine-day wonder


Newsday newspaper Trinidad and Tobago

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