Opposition Senator Wade Mark is calling for the resignation of Finance Minister Colm Imbert over the construction of the million-dollar Picton Street Allora condominium project.
Earlier on Friday, Imbert rejected the allegations made by Mark that he stood to benefit from tax breaks in the recent Finance Bill 2020. Mark alleged that the 20 luxury apartments in the condominium on Picton Street, Port-of- Spain, would net $55 million once they are sold.
Speaking at the Opposition’s office on Charles Street, Port-of-Spain, on Saturday, Mark said “We have no problem with the minister being involved (in construction), but we think the minister should resign.
“The minister should not be conflicted while he’s the Minister of Finance in doing private-sector work and public work at the same time. The minister must make a choice, either he remains as Minister of Finance or tender his resignation; he cannot wear both caps at the same time.
“He cannot be a private-sector entrepreneur sitting in the seat of the Minister of Finance and bringing measures in the Parliament that would, directly and indirectly, benefit him. That is misconduct in public office.”
He said that a person using public office to amend laws for personal gain was tantamount to corruption.
Mark said that this was a matter that the police should be investigating, and also a matter that should be engaging the attention of the Integrity Commission.
Holding up one of two boxes of Panadol painkillers on the table, Mark said they were meant for the minister because the Opposition intended to give him a lot of migraines and there was more where they came from.
On Tuesday in Parliament, Imbert declared that he “may” have potential benefits as a result of two tax stipulations in the 2021 Budget.
On a measure to cut corporation tax from 20 per cent to 15 per cent regarding property development with projects completed before 2024, he said, “I may have a potential benefit in this, and I declare my interest.”
Imbert did not return Sunday Guardian’s WhatsApp message on Mark’s claims of misconduct in public office and calls for his resignation.