Maritime Commissioner-Designate's Nomination Withdrawn--Dismissed as Deputy Maritime Commissioner

Monday, 3rd September 2007
Talking Points from September 3rd Press Briefing

Last week, we did inform you that the President had put a hold on the appointment of Cllr. John Stewart as Commissioner of the Bureau of Maritime Affairs. The decision was based on information that Cllr. Stewart is currently under investigation, facing multiply charges of financial improprieties and disbarment from the Office of the Bar Council in Washington, D.C., information Mr. Stewart did not divulge when he met with the President for an interview.

Based on the foregoing, Cllr Stewartís nomination as Commissioner of Maritime Affairs has been withdrawn. In addition, the President is also relieving Mr. Stewart of his post as Deputy Commissioner of Maritime Affairs.

The President is taking the decision in keeping with her desire to recruit not only qualified and competent individuals to government but individuals with qualities of honesty, accountability and transparency. Cllr. Stewart was not forthcoming during his interaction with the President on the charges levied against him. This, in our view, is an act of dishonesty, on the part of Cllr. Stewart, which can not go unchecked.

We call on the Press to help the President and government in achieving the principles of honesty, transparency and accountability, by exposing any individual or individuals whose records or activities may not be in line with governmentís policies on good governance.

The President will not hesitate to act in the national interest, when there is irrefutable information questioning the backgrounds of officials appointed in government. To let such information swept under the carpet is to undermine governmentís policy on good governance; principles the President has sworn to uphold and will not compromise.

The President will in due course name replacements to fill in the vacancies in the Bureau of Maritime Affairs.