Former Minister of Public Services Jennifer Westford was a no show for her contribution to budget 2015 debates.
Westford was scheduled to be the penultimate speaker to conclude the Wednesday August 19 discussions. However when it was her turn to speak on the budget she was absent, forcing the government to question, “Where is Jennifer Westford?”
Information indicated that she may have abandoned the House late in the afternoon, hours before she was scheduled to speak.
Westford is facing criminal matters for allegedly acting inappropriately with the state’s assets. In July, Westford and her secretary were charged and placed on two million dollars bail collectively. Westford was charged with attempted larceny of some eight state vehicles where she tried to transfer them to her husband and other associates. Her secretary was also accused of helping to facilitate the transfer with signatures.
Westford was placed on GUY$200,000 bail on each of four charges. Additionally another investigation is against the former minister where some $600m which is unaccounted for from her former ministry. It was being touted by the government side of the House that it was a deliberate act not to have the minister speak.
Minister of Security Khemraj Ramjattan, in his turn to speak, said he was looking forward to Westford’s contribution, just before him. He told the opposition, “I noticed that you have caused her to exit. Where is she?” He said, “I got a list here that she was suppose to speak before me and she is gone.”
Even with the embattled former minister absent, the government did not spare her a bashing. Ramjattan said one contribution to crime is a human condition called “greed” which he said is known to former ministers on the other side of the House who want eight cars. “Crime comes about by a terrible human condition called greed…Some former ministers are having eight cars and huge sums of money. We have to bring the climbing crime rate to halt,” he said.
Back and forth between the two sides on the Westford issue forced the Speaker of the Assembly on more than one occasion to call for order.