Attorney-at-law Anande Trotman-Joseph should do the honourable thing and withdraw herself voluntarily as a Member of the Integrity Commission.
THE NEW TODAY is not attempting to cast any aspersions on the integrity or character of Mrs Trotman-Joseph who is a practicing attorney-at-law in our law courts.
As a people, every effort should be made to maintain the integrity of the commission and no one should attempt to drag the body into partisan politics.
This country is already too much divided along the lines of Green and Yellow and steps should be taken to prevent the Trotman-Joseph issue from boiling over into the political fray.
The fact of the matter is that when the goodly lady was appointed to serve on the Integrity Commission she came as the representative of the New National Party (NNP) and in-keeping with the provisions of the law that created the commission.
There was no objection then to her, and quite rightfully so because her husband was not into the picture since he was an ordinary citizen, although he was a qualified barrister-at-law like herself.
The situation has changed because Mr. Joseph is now the President of the Senate and one of the persons who under the law has to make a declaration of his assets to the commission.
It is a straight case of a husband having to come before his own wife to declare his assets and it raises serious questions of conflict of interest.
The two of them as husband and wife might be joint owners of something, like a piece of property and it is not looking good that Mrs. Trotman-Joseph is making a declaration of her own assets onto herself.
The other linked issue is that some persons have been raising questions as to why a member of the Integrity Commission should be a part of the Citizenship by Investment Programme which by nature is very controversial.
Grenada had a very bad experience with the sale of passports under the same New National Party (NNP) of Dr. Keith Mitchell as crooks and conmen were able to purchase our passports.
The infamous Eric Resteiner who was jailed for seven years in the United States for committing fraud was not only a passport holder under the previous scheme but was able to land an ambassadorial position under the former NNP government.
The same Dr. Mitchell in a sitting of Parliament turned around and accused Resteiner of being “a crook”.
Why would a member of our Integrity Commission expose the body to possible ridicule if something happened with one of our passports down the road?
THE NEW TODAY can point to three persons who might be better poised at this point in time to succeed Mrs. Trotman-Joseph as a member of the commission and to avoid aspersions being cast against this body which is a good start to help bring more integrity and decency in advancing the Good Governance agenda.
There are several other persons in the country who are more than adequately qualified to serve on the Integrity Commission.
This newspaper calls on the goodly attorney-at-law to put the national interest first and do the decent and honourable thing and bow out gracefully.
The other issue of concern to us is the recent decision taken by government to raise the Customs Service Charge from 5% to 6% with immediate effect.
The move would undoubtedly impact on the business community and force some private sector entities to go back on the drawing board and relook their pricing structures.
It might appear to the ordinary eye that a mere 1% increase took place. This is not the case. It is in effect a 20% increase in the tax.
A number of businessmen have told us that they have no choice but to pass on this 20% increase in their imported goods onto the consumers who are already under pressure from the prevailing high cost of living in the country.
It is unfortunate that the government would make amendments to the CSC a mere three months after passing the 2014 Budget in Parliament.
The administration is unfortunately sending a bad signal that it is not sure about what it is doing in terms of addressing the terrible fiscal situation in the country.
The private sector likes to operate on the basis of predictability and tinkering with the taxation system so soon after the presentation of the budget is not a good thing.
The Prime Minister and his team are giving the impression that the NNP administration does not have a clearly defined economic and financial policy to govern and run the country.