Padarath: JSC must call Gonzales

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Princes Town MP Barry Padarath. FILE PHOTO –

PRINCESS Town MP Barry Padarath in a statement on Tuesday called on Parliament’s Joint Select Committee (JSC) on State Enterprises to summon Minister of Public Utilities Marvin Gonzales, following TSTT former CEO Lisa Agard’s remarks to the JSC on Monday regarding last October’s cyber attack on the company. Former CFO Shiva Ramnarine also criticised TSTT on Monday.

Padarath said the duo’s remarks to the JSC had been “damning and explosive.”

He said Gonzales owed a duty to the people of TT to urgently address the issues raised by Agard.

Padarath said Monday’s testimonies raised issues of national importance which only Gonzales could address.

The MP said the issues raised at the JSC had left the country with more questions than answers.

It was in the public interest for Gonzales to expeditiously appear before the committee to answer the questions raised, he said.

Padarath said Gonzales must say if Agard communicated directly with him last October to provide updated and accurate information, and if so, had he chosen to disregard it.

The MP wanted answers on an alleged gag order on TSTT’s executive management after the cyber attack.

Padarath asked if Gonzales was made aware of the breach and alleged insubordination by middle management withholding vital information from Agard and Ramnarine before they were fired.

He asked if the minister was aware of alleged conflicts of interest entailing board members and the operations of TSTT.

Padarath asked about the board firing Agard and Ramnarine and whether due process and natural justice were followed.

“In light of all the allegations of incompetence swirling around the politically-appointed board of TSTT, why was the board not fired?”

The MP asked about the appointment of Kent Western to act as CEO of TSTT. Padarath said Gonzales now had a platform to air his side of the story.

Padarath said an alleged continuous undermining of employees at state institutions was a feature of the current Government.

He claimed TSTT was just another example of political interference by persons whom he alleged “were not fit to even run a parlour.”