Over the past week, Trinidad and Tobago's most erudite, incisive and respected political commentators have analysed the recent Cabinet reshuffle; and now it's my turn.
One aspect that critics focused on was the expanded size of the Cabinet. But Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar responded, saying, "I don't agree that portfolios have been created just to have warm bodies there": and every reasonable person must see her point, since there are clearly some Government Ministers who may just as well be corpses.
The new Government Ministries, according to PM Persad-Bissessar, are needed to handle "focus areas of concern to the population". So presumably the Government's polls had revealed that the people of T&T have been losing sleep over patriotism, national heroes and protocol since, according to the PM, the Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration has been created to deal with these particular issues. This means that T&T now has a Ministry dedicated to ensuring that the National Anthem is grammatical; to giving out Chaconia Gold medals to anyone courageous enough to say the Earth is 6,000 years old; and to make sure the Speaker of the House doesn't get to the jumbo shrimp before the Senate President.
This also explains why Winston Dookeran was shifted from the Ministry of Finance, which disburses funds to all other ministries, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which disburses ambassadorships to ministers who have been fired but still want to eat ah food. Most commentators do not see this as a demotion, because the prevalent opinion is that Mr Dookeran made a deal to be appointed president of T&T when Max's tenure ends. Even if this is not the case, Dookeran is better suited to dealing with diplomats than with economists, since you never know if his head-shake means Yes or No or I Am a Bobble-Head Doll. By working in Foreign Affairs in the interim, Dookeran would also have the chance to meet the various ambassadors in cocktail parties, which would in turn give them a chance to practise looking interested when he's talking.
Dookeran's replacement, former First Citizens Bank CEO Larry Howai, will soon be instituting policies to enable citizens to text a number to find out whether they can afford to pay the salaries of the largest per capita Cabinet in the Western world. And, for people who don't like to text, they can obtain information from former Mastana Bahar host Jamal Mohammed, the country's new Communications Minister, although they might have to pick ah pan to get the right answer.
Apart from using polls to decide that Winston "Gypsy" Peters would be better off extemporising in Community Development, Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar, just like prime minister Patrick Manning before her, said she also consulted God before making her decisions. This no doubt explains why children's activist Verna St Rose Greaves was fired as Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development. While Verna is a lot more qualified to help children than her replacement Marlene Coudray, Verna also opposed hanging, supported abortion law reform, and behaved as though homosexuals were human. Since all this is against the laws of God, God, and God, stopping the abuse and murders of children might have caused plagues upon the land, including online chat groups.
But most of the commentary has focused on the appointment of Jack Warner as National Security Minister. Some commentators have argued that Mr Warner is inappropriate for this post, which is absurd when you consider that criminals are people who break the laws of the country and find ways to hide their crimes. Moreover, when charged, these individuals are not often convicted due to a technicality. The more successful ones are even praised by their communities, because they supply goods and services, such as diapers and weed. Reprehensible as it may seem that ordinary people would support wrong-doing just because they get handouts and make-work jobs and gold teeth, this is the kind of society we live in. So we can only consider ourselves lucky that we have a man like Jack with his wealth of experience and knowledge about criminals, crime and being black.
Indeed, the new National Security Minister has already swung into action, personally overseeing the arrest of people who are breaking the law by opposing the Government's plan to spend $7 billion on a highway. And he's already throwing out crime-fighting ideas, such as resurrecting the Flying Squad which operated under then-Police Commissioner Randolph Burroughs from 1976 to 1985. Burroughs, widely considered T&T's best CoP ever, presided over a 43 per cent increase in crimes, with burglary rates rising 30 per cent, rapes nearly doubling and the murder rate increasing by 100 per cent: but this only proves that you don't need numbers to fight crime, except number two.
From all this, we can conclude that no right-thinking citizens would criticise the recent Cabinet reshuffle, because a right-thinking citizen is usually a citizen who prefers not to think.