I HAVE noted the expressed and implied attack on me by the Stabroek News in their edition of Monday, 15th October 2018 in a front page article headed “Transparency body sees “Major” conflict of interest for Hugheses over oil.”
I wish not to dwell upon the motives for the publication, but merely to provide information to the general public which is, and was at all times, available to the general public on the most cursory of inquiries. On the day of July 4, 2018 I submitted my declaration of assets and interest to the Integrity Commission.
I am aware that the contents of my declaration are confidential, but I will disclose that included in my declaration was a clear statement of my marriage to the Managing Partner of Hughes, Fields and Stoby and his interest in the firm.
Following my submission to the Integrity Commission on the 9th day of October 2018, I repeated my disclosure to the Cabinet about my husband’s position as Managing Partner of Hughes Fields and Stoby, as well as the firm’s intention to establish an office in Houston. I, also, prior to the publication of the article, sought legal advice on the disclosure and compliance requirements set out in the Laws of Guyana.
I am aware that despite their previous experience to the contrary, it must have been very difficult for the Stabroek News to contact me over the week. My phone records have not disclosed any attempts to solicit any comments from me. This is interesting, since for many years now the publication has been in possession of my contact numbers, and in the past has contacted me on several occasions, including after hours and on weekends.
It continues to be my fervent hope that in their efforts to express their views on activities of Ministers of the Government, that Stabroek News would at least conduct the most rudimentary of inquiries prior to publication to ensure balance, objectivity, and fairness which still is the foundation of good journalism.
Catherine Hughes. M.P.
Minister of Public Telecommunications