Mac calls for Arden probe
(CNS): The premier says he has written to the Anti-corruption Commission about the PPM’s former Cabinet minister Arden Mclean, whom he accused of not paying his power bill for over a year during the time he was negotiating a licensing agreement with CUC in the last government. McKeeva Bush told a public meeting in Bodden Town on Thursday night that McLean had admitted on radio recently that he did not pay the bill and if this was true, it meant he had used his office for personal gain. Taking aim at the opposition, who he said was accusing him of corruption and incompetence, he said he had "on his armour now", as he revealed the request for the investigation.
Bush also said that he would be asking for anti-corruption enquiries into the opposition leader, Alden McLaughlin, and another PPM member but gave no details on who or what he believed the others had done.
In an ironic twist, Bush made no mention of the actual ongoing investigation into financial irregularities over his dealings with developer Stan Thomas but suggested that the opposition had the audacity to point the finger of corruption at him and were using it as a red herring in order to get back into office.
The premier said that McLean should explain to the country, if what he admitted to on radio was true, why he did not pay his electrical bill. “Should that be an investigation Mr Arden? So you want an investigation on me giving East End $200,000 for projects – he didn’t have to pay his light bill but you have heavy ones to pay,” he told the audience.
“Can you imagine they talk about corruption and incompetence?” he queried as he told the audience that if the opposition wanted a fight he was ready as he was a hard worker. “I have on my armour now.”
Reading from his letter to the police commissioner, who is chair of the Anti-corruption Commission Bush said he wanted the commissioner to look into the failure of McLean to pay the CUC bill when he was in office and dealing directly with the power firm in his role as minister responsible for utilities.
“After all that has been said in this country about corruption and the use of public office for private gain and conflict, I would ask that this matter be investigated by the Anti-corruption Commission,” he said quoting from the correspondence to David Baines.
“I want to tell at least two more of them that I have two more letters that I want to give to the commissioner but I am just getting the facts,” he added. He later indicated that one of the letters he would be sending to the police commissioner was about Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin.
He queried why there were no investigations into various issues from the PPM administration, such as the money allegedly stolen by the former UCCI president, Hassan Syed, the Matrix scrap metal deal and the expenditure on the schools.
“All kinds of financial infractions and process took place in that contract,” he said about the high school projects, which were awarded to Tom Jones International, which is now embroiled in a legal dispute with government.
In a speech that lasted close to two hours and gave very few updates on government projects and policies but was very heavy on political rhetoric, the premier launched a full scale attack on the opposition, as well as the various activists that are opposing government policy.
Responding to the accusations on Friday morning Arden McLean told CNS the country was in trouble if this was the best the premier could do to “deflect from his own criminal investigation.”
The former PPM minister admitted that he had been in dispute with CUC over power bills but just like everyone else he had to pay. “There is nothing criminal or corrupt about paying your bill late when you are in dispute about the amounts,” McLean stated. "I am sure any investigation into that will be over very quickly as opposed to the criminal investigation into the premier,” he added.
See more on CNS later today from the Bodden Town meeting and the Keep BT Dump Free Coalition demonstration.
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