Trinidad and Tobago
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Manning’s reply to Senate question angers Mark

Clint Chan Tack Minister in the Ministry of Finance Brian Manning. - File photo
Minister in the Ministry of Finance Brian Manning. - File photo

MINISTER in the Ministry of Finance Brian Manning made Opposition Senator Wade Mark angry on Tuesday when he told Mark the ministry does not audit the finances of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA).

Mark accused Manning of being arrogant and showing contempt to the Senate.

Manning responded to three questions Mark posed about an auditor-general's report on THA financial statements ending September 30, 2015.

Manning told Mark the information he was seeking was available "from the Auditor General or from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Parliament." He added that the ministry does not audit the THA's finances.

The PAC is one of two parliamentary joint select committees (JSCs) chaired by opposition parliamentarians. The other is the Public Accounts Enterprises Committee (PAEC), which Mark chairs. Oropouche West MP Davendranath Tancoo chairs the PAC.

Mark accused Manning of being a stuck record when he gave the same response to each of his questions.

Manning told Mark, "If the honourable member continues to ask the same question, he will get the same response."

Senate President Nigel De Freitas cautioned Mark and Opposition Senator Damian Lyder about inaudible remarks they made against Manning.

De Freitas advised Mark to ask his question but to leave out extra commentary.

As he began to ask his question, Mark claimed misappropriations, irregularities and improprities were happening under the PNM.

De Freitas warned him to desist.

"Senator Mark, that is not even the beginning of a question."

Mark replied,"Mr President, how do you know that is extra (commentary)?"

He claimed he was trying to formulate a question to pose to Manning.

Mark told De Freitas: "You are not in my head or my mind."

Mark complied with De Freitas's instructions and promised to raise his concerns in a different forum.