Farley Augustine says a threat issued by the PDP Political Leader Watson Duke to the Auditor General needs to be taken in context.
Augustine co-hosted a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Scarborough yesterday where he was asked if he felt statements made by Watson Duke would affect the outcome of next Monday’s THA elections.
During a community meeting in Black Rock on Monday night Duke said he heard the Auditor General was coming to Tobago with her lawyer to address the 2016 Auditor General’s report.
He warned the Auditor General to stay out of Tobago Politics or else he would make her life a living hell. The PSA President promised to shut down the Auditor General’s department if she came to Tobago and got involved. Augustine said everything has to be taken into context
“This is a conversation I have had with Mr Duke one of the things he is operating on is that information that they were trying to get the auditor general to come to Tobago to attenuate the gravity of her report so that she can walk back her findings politically so his signal was just a political signal.”
Augustine said he, however, would welcome the auditor general’s visit to the island as currently has in his possessions documents which may complete her audit
“ We do welcome the auditor general because there are some documents that she could not find so that we could hand deliver those documents that she needs to see so that she can have an informed opinion on the financials of the Tobago House of Assembly,” he said.
Auditor General Laurelly Pujadas presented the THA a Disclaimer of Opinion rating for 2015.
According to the report, she was not able to provide sufficient appropriate audit evidence a basis for an audit opinion.
The report follows a management letter which highlighted several inconsistencies for the financial year, including $3.5 million dollars spent on a zip line project that never materialized.
This is not the first time Augustine is being asked to justify statements made by Watson Duke on a political platform. A few days before the 2010 General Elections while speaking on a political platform, Watson Duke said he would take legal action against two “dutty, stinking girls” – a Tobago woman and her attorney – for defamation of character.
The PDPD Political Leader, who referred to the females by name, accused them of slandering his name on social media.
Following the PDP’s defeat at the polls Augustine was subsequently asked to comment on the statement made by Duke, and issued an apology.
This, however , did not sit well with Duke who responded by saying, “I cannot fault the Assemblyman for doing what he thought was right in the moment…I have no problem with that. However, Watson Duke always speaks for himself.”
He said nobody speaks for him except his lawyer who he said would have a day to speak for him in court.