The United National Congress is claiming that the PNM government is using the Covid19 pandemic as a distraction, in order to appoint former minister Christine Sahadeo, as a member of the Tax Appeal Board, exercising the jurisdiction and power of a superior court of record.
According to the UNC, “This is nothing less than corruption of our justice system by the PNM” and a Cabinet note has confirmed the appointment.
The party, via its PRO Kirk Meighoo, said its leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, warned the country about this move at the UNC’s weekly Virtual Report on May 3rd, calling on the Government to cease and desist from making this appointment.
However, he said, the Government ignored the Opposition, acting dictatorially and unethically.
The UNC said “A political person should never be given the power to exercise judicial functions in our country. The independent institutions of Trinidad and Tobago should not be staffed with political partisans of the PNM, or any political party.”
“Rowley and Imbert are hell-bent on bringing the unpopular Revenue Authority and the Property Tax, and they have now appointed a PNM member to the Tax Appeal Board to push their agenda.”
The party said “Sahadeo has never practised as an Attorney and is not familiar with Court or judicial procedures. She is purely a political appointment. She had a very controversial tenure as Chair of the Port Authority, and was a political appointee as Chair of the National Flour Mills, Interisland Transportation Company, and the Port of Port of Spain. Her appointment to the Tax Appeal Board is not acceptable in any way.”
In addition, Meighoo said the UNC has information that Sahadeo allegedly intends to keep her Full-Time position as Senior Lecturer at the UWI as well, drawing two salaries, which is contrary to regulations. “We are asking for clarification as to whether this is in fact her intention. ”
The UNC said “This type of PNM corruption occurs regularly in the Public Service. For instance, one senior official in the judiciary receives three salaries, fully tax-free, and works abroad during Court time. The PNM has designed the system so that the Opposition has little or no power to correct these abuses of the system. Will Christine Sahadeo be another such beneficiary of this widespread PNM corruption? Can she be trusted to be independent in such a circumstance, as a member hearing judicial appeals must be?”
The UNC calls on the entire national community to condemn this appointment and for the Cabinet to reverse its decision with immediate effect.