Antigua St. john's - Following the decision of the Cabinet to appointment a Sub-Committee of the Cabinet to study the Wadadli Power Plant, Caribarena interviewed the Hon. MP Molwyn Joseph to get his view of the Cabinet's decision. The Full interview is printed below:
Question: How do you feel about the Government's decision to establish a Cabinet Sub-committee to study the Wadadli Power Plant?
Answer: I feel that this step by the Government is an attempt to cover up the deeds of its officials. This Sub-Committee is riddled with Conflicts of Interest. Additionally, the principle of collective responsibility is being broken. This principle clearly states that, when the Cabinet makes a decision, every member of the Cabinet is equally responsible.
I have not seen, nor am I aware of, any evidence that the AG has been involved in the negotiations and the consummation of agreements relating to the Wadadli Power Plant or the Sub-Station. The AG has not indicated so publicly, and his signature does not appear on any of the documents that have been released. There is no evidence that he or his office has vetted any of the agreements.
Question: What responsibilities or tasks does the AG's office have in this matter?
Answer: All agreements are expected to be vetted by the AG's office. I cannot imagine a situation where the Minister of Finance would sign a loan agreement that has not been vetted by the AG.
For instance, it would be unthinkable that the BCEG agreement would be signed by APUA without being vetted by the AG, especially considering the large quantum of money involved ($142 million EC dollars).
If the cabinet was really serious about making an impression that it intends to be transparent and accountable, then it would be the AG's responsibility to advise the Cabinet whether or not there would be enough evidence to justify a Commission of Inquiry.
Justin Simon is considered to be the chief legal advisor to the government, which means that he is expected to pursue an independent path so far as the legal undertakings of the government are concerned.
Question: Can the Prime Minister bypass the Attorney General?
Answer: The PM ought not to bypass the Attorney General, since the constitution established the Attorney General as the chief legal advisor to the Government it is expected that his advice would be sought at all times.
For the Prime Minister to bypass the Attorney General, it would be a violation of our Constitution.
Again, I reiterate the PM must always seek the legal advice of the AG. The aspect of the apparent non-involvement of the Attorney General and his silence can only be cured in the public's interest by him appearing before a commission of inquiry to explain his non-involvement and silence about the Wadadli Power Plant.
Question: What steps should the Government take to best resolve this situation?
Answer: The only solution to this matter is, once again, the Governor General must live up to her legal responsibilities and initiate a commission of inquiry immediately.
Following the earlier decision of the GG that a Commission of Inquiry is unnecessary, many new developments have revealed more factual evidence that the Government and People of Antigua and Barbuda have not received value for money, and that the plant is made up of old engines.
This was further confirmed by a Member of the Baldwin Spencer Cabinet. It therefore follows that the GG must seriously reconsider her earlier decision not to initiate a Commission of Inquiry. The Government and the GG need to realize that this issue is beyond being covered up or swept under the carpet.
The people of Antigua and Barbuda will not allow the WPP to become a sequel of the Fences scandal, in which no one has been held accountable.
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