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Investigate offer to bribe Minister Hinds with watch | Letters to Editor

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On Wednesday at a news conference at the Police Administration Building, Port of Spain, where a US$1.5 million Gang Reduction and Community Programme (GRACE) was launched, Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds indicated that while he was minister of works, someone offered him a watch valued at over $.5 million as a bribe, following which he drove the person out of his office and reported the matter to the PM.

Minister Hinds as a senior attorney-at-law, and seasoned legislator, and the Prime Minister, as head of the Government, should know that under Section 3(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, the offer of a bribe to an office-holder is a criminal offence punishable by a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for ten years.

The questions that arise from the above, at the very least are:

1. Who was the person offering the bribe to the minister?

2. Did Minister Hinds immediately, or anytime up to now, report the corruption crime to the police? If not, why not?

3. What was the PM’s response when told of this corruption crime by Minister Hinds?

4. Did the PM instruct Minister Hinds to report the corruption crime to the police? If not, why not?

5. Can Minister Hinds legitimately and with “grace” continue to hold the office of Minister of National Security (and line minister for the T&T Police Service) while the above questions remain unanswered?

6. Can the PM, because of his continuing stance on corruption, maintain silence on the above issues?

The above is a shocking state of affairs, to say the least.

Larry N Lalla

attorney-at-law




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BJP big guns to lend Himachal CM Jai Ram Thakur a hand as corruption, factions mount hurdles

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However, it may not be all smooth for the party in the hilly state.

Corruption charges against officials, including in the unravelling police recruitment paper leak scam, allegations that the Chief Minister’s Office is protecting them and delaying investigation, intensified factionalism, the inability of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur to take everyone along, and simmering disillusionment among youth over joblessness are among the issues, party men fear, which are dragging down the BJP as it seeks to overcome anti-incumbency.

Outspoken former CM and party veteran Shanta Kumar earlier this week voiced this discontent, when he hailed AAP leader and Punjab CM Punjab Bhagwant Mann for taking “an extremely courageous step” against corruption, by sacking and arresting his own minister over bribery allegations. Kumar said there should be no tolerance towards corruption and every government should adopt transparency.

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Among those fending off allegations of corruption in Himachal is CM Thakur’s top official, Chief Secretary Ram Subhag Singh. The Prime Minister’s Office had also flagged the alleged irregularities in the construction of the Wildlife Interpretation Centre in Nagrota, when Singh had been additional chief secretary in the Forest Department, sources said. The CM is seen to be delaying the investigation against Singh.

In the constable recruitment examination held in March – the biggest such recruitment after the pandemic – question papers were allegedly sold for Rs 6-10 lakh to more than a thousand applicants. An investigation has indicated the involvement of several officials.

As pressure mounts on Thakur, the many factions within the BJP have raised their heads. “Leaders like former chief minister P K Dhumal, his son (Union minister) Anurag Thakur, Shanta Kumar, Nadda, Rajya Sabha MP Indu Goswami, Jai Ram Thakur himself… all have groups within the state unit,” a party leader said.

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The rival leaders have been biding their chance since the BJP’s humiliating defeat in several by-elections last year, including for the Mandi Lok Sabha constituency and the Arki, Fatehpur and Jubbal-Kotkhai Assembly seats.

Himachal BJP chief Suresh Kumar Kashyap played down the corruption allegations, saying the Thakur government had handled them seriously. “People have seen the government handing over the recruitment scam case to the CBI. There will be action against the culprits. It is also taking steps to conduct the exam soon,” he told The Indian Express, adding that the Opposition would not be able to gain advantage from the issue.

Kashyap also asserted that both the government and party were working in tandem to ensure the BJP returns to power.

While the BJP’s eyes have been largely on AAP, which is focused on Himachal Pradesh after the spectacular win in neighbouring Punjab, the Congress too is getting its act together.

A source said Mandi MP Pratibha Singh, who was handed over the reins of the Congress recently, and her son Vikramaditya have started bringing about good changes in Upper Himachal Pradesh.

“The Youth Congress is taking up the recruitment scam issue in a big way. With unemployment an issue among the youth in Himachal Pradesh, it is striking the right chords,” he said.

All expectations now rest on Modi’s Shimla rally, where he will address “the major concerns” of the hill state. “Things will be different after the Prime Minister’s visit,” a leader said.




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Williamsport man charged with indecent assault, corruption of minors | News

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Williamsport, Pa. — A Williamsport man was charged after an investigation into accusations of indecent assault made in 2021.

Troy Bennett Bailey, 55, allegedly assaulted a 10-year-old relative several times, according to a police affidavit.

Police said Bailey allegedly demanded the accuser to touch him and showed pornographic movies. Bailey exposed himself to the accuser and told them to rub his genitals approximately four times throughout 2019, police said.

According to the affidavit, Bailey was 53 years old at the time of the incidents.

Bailey was charged with four third-degree felonies that included indecent assault of a person less than 13 years of age, disseminate explicit material to minors, corruptions of minors, and four counts of unlawful contact with a minor. He was also charged with four counts of first-degree misdemeanor indecent exposure.

Bailey is scheduled to appear in court on May 31 for a preliminary hearing with Judge Christian Frey.

He is incarcerated at the Lycoming County Prison in lieu of $150,000 monetary bail. 

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