Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 7th 2013 Contents A5
Saturday, September 7, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
KALIFA SARAH CLYNE
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar again defended her
decision to reshuffle the Cabinet
for the third time in the three
years the People s Partnership
has been in government.
only Prime Minister in history to
reshuffle cabinet more than once."
She said this following the
swearing-in of three new members
of her Government at the Presi-
dent s House yesterday.
The new members are National
Security Minister Gary Griffith,
Communications Minister Gerald
Hadeed and Minister in the Min-
istry of Gender and Child Devel-
opment Raziah Ahmed.
The swearing-in was witnessed
by members of Government and
only a few media personnel, as
the room for the ceremony was
Asked to comment on criticism
of her appointment of Emmanuel
George as Justice Minister, Per-
sad-Bissessar said she saw no issue
with the appointment.
"There is no requirement in law
for the Justice Minister to be a
lawyer, just like there is no require-
ment for any other minister. The
only minister required to be a
lawyer is the Attorney General,
and that is for peculiar reasons in
addition to all the law departments
that fall under that particular min-
Persad-Bissessar said the Min-
ister of Housing didn t have to be
a housing contractor and the Min-
ister of Drainage didn t have to be
a drainage engineer.
"I think Minister George has
the management skills. He has
worked in the public service for a
very long time. I trust he will do
well and he will be assisted by the
technocrats at his own ministry.
It is not only law but the man-
agement of the criminal justice
Persad-Bissessar also expressed
confidence in the new appoint-
ments to her Government, saying
she knew the three for a long time
and expected them to do well.
Hadeed, former chairman of the
Airports Authority, told the media
he was prepared to offer truth and
transparency in his ministry.
In a statement to the media, he
promised the communications
ministry would not be a "propa-
Kamla defends naming George as Justice Minister
The Government is moving to
have a system of proportional rep-
resentation form part of the next
So said Legal Affairs Minister
Prakash Ramadhar during his con-
tribution to yesterday s House of
Representatives debate on a bill to
amend the Municipal Corporations
The legislation was presented by
former local government minister
Dr Surujrattan Rambachan.
It seeks to allow for a system of
proportional representation to be
implemented for the election of
aldermen in next month s local gov-
In expressing his support for the
legislation, Ramadhar said it was a
new concept and "we will take it
Opposition MP Colm Imbert said
the People s Partnership Govern-
ment wil be "wiped out" in October
21 local government elections and
was seeking to get a toehold in the
corporations via election via the
system of PR for aldermen.
Imbert said the Government did
not think the measure through
properly and did not consult with
the population. The Government
had no plans in its manifesto to
implement a system of PR, he said,
and it was a kneejerk response to
heavy defeats at Tobago House of
Assembly election in January and
the Chaguanas West by-election in
"They have not explained the
anomalies that are going to arise
with the implementation of this
system," Imbert said.
He said the system for the elec-
tion of an alderman was not equi-
table and no reasons were given for
the appointment of four aldermen
in each corporation despite the size
of the electorate.
"Where is the proportionality?
Where is the equity? Where is the
citizens participation?" Imbert
He said the legislation had "noth-
ing to do with PR, because if it did
the number of aldermen would be
proportionate to the size of the elec-
torate or the number of districts
within each corporation.
"This bill has no intellectual con-
tent whatsoever," he insisted.
Imbert said the ultimate plan of
the Government was to attempt to
introduce a system of PR for par-
liamentary elections, but that will
never happen because the Govern-
ment requires 32 votes in the House
of Representatives to do that.
Imbert also said Rambachan,
who presented the bill, failed to
honour a promise to construct a
retaining wall at the home of T&T s
latest track and field gold medallist
at PR in next
ILP leader Jack Warner doubts
that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar s "olive branch" is gen-
Speaking on Thursday during her
Cabinet reshuffle, the PM said she
was extending the olive branch to
all opposition groups to work with
her in "making a difference to the
nation they aspire to lead."
She said it was the only practical
solution to the challenges present
and would benefit T&T.
Dr Roodal Moonilal later said the
PM s invitation applied to all groups,
including Warner s ILP.
Yesterday the T&T Guardian
asked MPs Winston Peters and Fuad
Khan if Warner should heed the
PM s "peace-pipe" appeal.
Peters said: "I don t know what
the ILP or anybody should do but
it s a good call. People should do
what they think is best for them."
Khan said: "The Prime Minister
and Mr Warner have been friends
for a very long time and it s a deci-
sion for both to make. I love Mr
Warner, he s my friend, and I love
my Prime Minister. So it would be
nice if the two loves of your life get
But Warner, when asked if he
would heed the PM s call, said: "If
the Prime Minister were not a victim
of the cabal, I d consider her call to
be genuine, but she s a victim of the
cabal and they wouldn t allow her
the freedom to meet with anyone
in a genuine way.
"Why hasn t the Prime Minister
called me in to see the evidence I
showed the Integrity Commission
recently? If she s so interested in
olive branch, she should have done
that---call me in and ask me to show
her. But she hasn t done that."
He said Moonilal could not speak
for the Prime Minister.
On the PM s move to split the
portfolios of several UNC frontliners
he d taken issue with recently, Warn-
er said: "It s just more people to rape
the Treasury. They realise they re in
their last days of power and nothing
they can do can save them."
Warner queried why some min-
isters had been retained in the Cab-
inet reshuffle. He said Chandresh
Sharma had been moved every year
since the Government entered office
from Local Government to Transport
to Tourism, questioned what
changes the new position for Suruj
Rambachan could bring, and queried
why Glenn Ramadharsingh was
In fact, Warner questioned why
the Prime Minister had retained all
"She hasn t touched a single one
save for cosmetic purposes, except
"It s now a 34-member Cabinet.
Where in the world does this hap-
The Chaguanas West MP took
up his new seat in Parliament yes-
terday, on the furthest backbench,
next to former UNC MP Herbert
Volney, who yesterday sported a tie
in ILP s green. Warner is sitting
directly behind PNM MP Colm
Government MP Jairam Seemu-
ngal, who was promoted to full-
fledged ministerial status in Thurs-
day s reshuffle, has been
correspondingly moved to the last
seat on the government front bench.
He was on the Government back-
PM's peace pipe
Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner shows his anger at not receiving the Approved Draft of the Elections and
Boundaries Commission (Local Government and House of Assembly) Order, 2013 report during the sitting of
parliament yesterday. Looking on at right is St Joseph MP Herbert Volney. PHOTO : ROBERTO CODALLO
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