?Planning Minister Dr Emily Dick-Forde says the unrelenting bombardment and comments by "oppositional personalities" on the Calder Hart/Udecott controversy are intended to pre-empt the findings of the Uff Commission of Enquiry into Udecott and the Construction Sector. She said so in a statement yesterday, one day after she told reporters the nation should be ashamed for hounding former executive chairman of the Urban Development Corporation of T&T (Udecott) Calder Hart from office. Hart resigned on Saturday and left the country after documents alleging he had family ties with two officials of the construction firm Sunway, which was given a $368.9 million contract by Udecott to construct the Legal Affairs Towers in Port-of-Spain. Dick-Forde said: "The clear intention is to spread alarm among the nation and to have a man and his family, the directors of an organisation, as well as the Government, all branded as corrupt and even criminal, with no legal process to support such statements."
She added: "The nation's soul is affected by those bold infringements on a person's right to fairness in matters of this nature. "What we are witnessing today violates the procedures established in the Constitution to conduct such investigations and descends into a vigilante-style approach with a pretence at speaking for the ordinary people." Dick-Forde said the people of T&T "should not seek to pre-empt and eclipse the legal channels for dealing with issues under the law. "Such actions appear to have the sole objective of triggering some abortion of the tenure of the duly-elected Government." She said now was not the time for celebration but "deep reflection and contemplation at what is happening in this situation and even in the matter of the freedom of association issues as well. "The soul of our nation is at stake in this matter," she added.