ONCE public funds are being used, except in instances of national security, citizens are entitled to know for exactly what purpose the funds were put towards, says Senior Counsel Avory Sinanan.
That is why the attorney said he is of the view that a non-disclosure agreement should not have been utilised to prevent the population from knowing the contents of the $150,000 payout to former Ministry of Sport employee, Carrie-Ann Moreau, by the Ministry of Sport.
“In an instance where public funds are used, a non-disclosure agreement is inappropriate. It’s not to say like it is a matter of national security, so the public has a right to know for what purpose the funds were used,” he said.
But what exactly is a non-disclosure agreement?
Sinanan explained that it is exactly what the name suggests. It is an arrangement between two or more people where the parties come to a decision to not reveal information regarding whatever agreement they had arrived.
In essence, it is a contract between the parties and is recognised by the courts as legally binding.
Should any of the parties involved breach the agreement, they like in any other instances where contracts are involved, open up themselves to facing legal action for compensation by the other parties.
Senior Counsel Israel Khan had a similar view to Sinanan when it came to public funds being used.
“This is the first time that such a thing happened in this country. Why is he (Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley) protecting him (Smith) so? What is there to hide?” asked Khan.
He stated that based on the arrangements made, one could in fact find themselves before the court for breach of contract.
But in spite of this, Khan said he is of the view that Moreau should speak out.
“The girl should talk. She should speak out,” he stated.
He added that, like Sinanan, public funds were used to settle an agreement, and therefore, the population needed to know for exactly what those funds were used.