National Security Minister Stuart Young yesterday stated that his family has not benefited personally or financially from any Cabinet decision during his tenure as a minister in the current administration.
Young’s denial, nine days before the August 2020 general election, came in a statement in response to a news story on page 16 of yesterday’s Express headlined “Al-Rawi, Young recused from Cabinet 94 times”.
Young said in the statement that it was “completely untrue and a fabricated lie of the Express newspaper” that his father—former Scotiabank CEO and current chairman of the T&T International Financial Centre, chartered accountant Richard Young— acted as broker to transactions before the Cabinet.
“At no time whatsoever has my father acted as a broker in any transaction and certainly never in any matter that came before the Cabinet from 2015 to 2020,” Young said, adding that he has advised his father to seek legal redress against the Express.
Before entering politics, Young was a corporate attorney.
In the statement, Young said over the period of 2016 to 2020, he recused himself from participating on specific Cabinet Notes.
“On each occasion that I recused myself it was as a matter of precaution, principle, and out of a sense of decency to avoid any possible conflict of interest or allegation of conflict of interest. There was no risk of any financial benefit to me or my family in any recusal,” he said.
He said the reasons for his recusal from participating in discussions and decisions on Cabinet Notes are as follows:-
• “I recused myself from some Cabinet Notes that were dealing with the award of contracts to certain contractors, after competitive tender.
At the time I would have been involved in overseeing litigation against these contractors where they were alleged to have been involved in bid-rigging and other corrupt behaviour.
“I swore affidavits in support of the State’s pursuit of civil action against some of these contractors so I recused myself from Cabinet Notes involving the said contractors;
• “My father, Richard Young, was appointed as the Chairman of the International Financial Centre (IFC). He was also appointed as a member of a Cabinet-appointed Implementation Committee to interact with the Private Sector.
“Accordingly, I recused myself from any Cabinet Note that mentioned the IFC and/or the Implementation Committee, eg Cabinet Notes which laid before Cabinet the annual reports of the IFC;
• “As I have stated publicly before, I recused myself from ANY and EVERY Cabinet Note in which NCB Global Finance (NCBGF) was mentioned. It is this category of note that made up the vast majority of Cabinet Notes that I recused myself from.
“The Ministry of Finance engages in competitive tenders for financing and invites all of the financial institutions in Trinidad and Tobago to submit bids. The Ministry of Finance’s technocrats then analyse the various bids and advise the Cabinet which is the most beneficial/ competitive bid for the state to accept.
“I took the precaution of recusing myself from every single Ministry of Finance Cabinet Note that mentioned NCBGF regardless of which financial institution was successful.
“It should be noted that NCBFG has only been successful in 3.4 per cent of the financing awarded by the Ministry of Finance from 2015-2020 as was published by the Ministry of Finance recently.”
In the statement, Young said his brother Angus Young is the CEO of NCBGF and as such is an employee of the financial institution and not the owner.