Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar tonight announced her administration’s second reshuffle, firing two Ministers, demoting others, and creating several new ministries.
The announcement was made shortly before 8 p.m during a live televised address to the nation, and with most of her ministers in attendance at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, Port of Spain.
Among the major changes -
Jack Warner is the new Minister of National Security.
Brigadier John Sandy has been fired.
So too has the Minister of Youth, Child Development and Gender Affairs Verna St Rose Greaves.
She has been replaced by San Fernando Mayor, and deputy Political Leader of the United National Congress Marlene Coudray, who was absent. She was said to be at her home in Ste Madeleine, mourning the murder of her daughter in Jamaica and preparing for a memorial service in San Fernando this weekend.
Ganga Singh has also returned to Government, being appointed to the position of Minister of the Environment and Water Resources.
Also created is the Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration, headed by Minister Clifton de Coteau and Minister in the Ministry, Embau Moheni.
Winston Dookeran has lost the Finance Ministry to banker Larry Howai.
Dookeran has been appointed the new Foreign Affairs Minister, replacing Dr Suruj Rambachan who has been appointed Local Government Minister.
Vernella Alleyne-Toppin has been demoted from her post of Tobago Development Minister, and has been placed as a Minister in the Ministry of the People and Social Development.
Chairman of the Congress of the People (COP) Barataria/San Juan and temporary Government Senator Jamal Mohammed, the nephew of former People’s National Movement Minister Kamalludin Mohammed, has been placed in charge of the new Ministry of Communications.
There was no word on what has become of Nicole Dyer-Griffith, who was a Parliamentary Secretary in the now split Minister of Foreign Affairs and Communications.
Dr Lincoln Douglas (MP for Lopinot/Bon Air West) and Nela Khan (MP for Princes Town) have been promoted. Douglas is the new Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Minister, replacing Winston Peters, and Khan has been named to the post of Deputy Speaker.
Within minutes of the Prime Minister’s announcement, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley issued a statement criticising the appointment of Warner to the National Security Ministry.
He said that the appointment “should be a matter of concern for all the right-thinking citizens of Trinidad and Tobago. It is public knowledge that in the conduct of his private affairs in the various FIFA scandals he has found it necessary to engage in unseemly and embarrassing verbal wars with offices of the United Kingdom and the United States of America. These are not only our two major international partners, but their enthusiastic cooperation in the fight against the international drug trade is absolutely essential to succeed in our fight against crime. The Prime Minister's choice of Mr. Warner for this particular post borders on irresponsibility and once again confirms her misguided view that Trinidad and Tobago's international image counts for nothing”.
The new configuration is as follows
Minister of National Security Jack Warner
Minister of Finance and the Economy Larry Howai
Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Dookeran
Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development Marlene Coudray
Minister of Works and Infrastructure Emmanuel George
Minister of Transport Chandresh Sharma
Minister of Local Government Suruj Rambachan
Minister of Public Utilities Nizam Baksh
Minister of Arts and Multi-Culturalism Lincoln Douglas
Minister of Tobago Development Delmon Baker
Minister of Science and Technology Rupert Griffith
Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment Vasant Bharath
Minister of the Environment and Water Resources Ganga Singh
Minister of Tourism Stephen Cadiz
Minister of Community Development Winston Peters
Minister of Food Production Devant Maharaj
Minister of Communication Jamal Mohammed
Minister of National Diversity and Social Integration Clifton De Couteau
Minister of State in the Ministry of Food Production Jairam Seemungal
Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment and
Water Resources Ramona Ramdial
Minister in the Ministry of National Diversity and
Social Integration Embau Moheni
Minister in the Ministry of the People and
Social Development Vernella Alleyne-Toppin
Deputy Speaker of the Parliament
Minister of Health
Dr Fuad Khan
Minister of Legal Affairs Prakash Ramadhar
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan
Minister of the People and Social Development
Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh
Minister of Education DrTim Gopeesingh
Minister of Housing Dr Roodal Moonilal
Minister of Justice Herbert Volney
Minister of Public Administration Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan
Minister of Energy Kevin Ramnarine
Minister of Labour, Small and Micro Enterprise Development
Minister of Sport Anil Roberts
Minister of Planning Bhoe Tewarie
Minister of Tertiary Education Fazal Karim
Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister Rodger Samuel
Minister in the Ministry of National Security Collin Partap
Minister in the Ministry of Local Government Rudranath Indarsingh
Minister in the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure Stacy Roopnarine
The following is the full text of the Prime Minister's address
Good evening fellow citizens.
On May 24th I signalled to the nation my intention to carry out a reconfiguration of the Cabinet. Since then I have met quietly with people from all sectors of society to gather views and opinions from the widest cross-section of the population as possible.
I have also interviewed and considered several candidates from within and outside of my Cabinet and evaluated several presentations. I have entertained discussions with the government’s strongest critics and most ardent supporters both of whom have helped provide me with broader perspectives. As someone once said, the best way to understand people is to listen to them. I have also sought wisdom and guidance through prayer and meditation.
There are new faces in the Cabinet and major shifts in responsibilities and portfolios as I sought to get the most out of the best fit possible. The changes made should not be seen for any one as an indictment on performance. Each member of my Cabinet has worked tirelessly in service to the nation and I am proud of their contribution. Our task was challenging from the very start.
The government was elected on the wings of huge expectations from a population that had already waited too long for far too much. We assumed office after a period of excessive spending that had not addressed critical social and people centered needs. The result was a depleted Treasury and a nation in urgent need of help in so many areas.
It became our greatest challenge to stabilise the economy while investing heavily in addressing these needs, from broadening the social assistance programmes, fixing the CLICO issue, settling some 36 wage negotiations and broadening the development of the country for the first time into areas that had been neglected for decades.
And we had to do it while protecting ourselves from the effects of a global economy that is reeling under the weight of a recession. But it is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.
We had the courage to take bold, new steps. Whether it was education, agriculture, crime, health, roads, the initiatives were strident and results driven. Against all odds we persevered and delivered much, always cognisant of the fact that we were elected for the very reasons that challenge us now as a government.
But as I see it, the government has two choices, we can pat ourselves on the back and say under the circumstances, “well done,” or we can look at all we did not achieve, we can choose instead to listen to those who are not satisfied, we can measure the way forward by looking at areas where we have gone wrong or not done enough, we can reassess approaches and strategies, improving upon everything in every way possible. We can choose to work harder, to do more, and to be urged on by the criticisms even as we are inspired by the congratulations.
The reconfiguration of my Cabinet will meet with reviews from all over and everyone will have their say one way or the other. I ask one thing of every consideration made and that is to acknowledge what change is possible from within us all.
It is there in the most iconic symbol of change there could be, an oil drum, hammered out into the only musical instrument in the world developed in the last century, the steelpan. Over the next few years Trinidad and Tobago will undergo a similar transformation borne out of the same ingenuity, creativity and innovativeness which our people have become so famous for.
It is time to reclaim that self-belief. Our nation enters a new phase of its development where talents and resources are harnessed from people across all boundaries. We are all in this together. It touches each of us so we are all part of the solutions which your government now leads. In every area of the nation’s development our citizenry has a role to play and a purpose to serve.
The changes which I am about to announce in the Cabinet must deliver a level of competence and performance for an impatient and expectant population. I have been very clear on what is required of each member of the new Cabinet.
In my discussions with these men and women who will now take us forward into another phase of our development, I reaffirmed the oath we all took in 2010 and of the promise we made to our people to serve the people with humility.
I urged then that“We must accept no mediocrity. Neither must we contribute to it in any way. There must be no room for arrogance. We must be faithful to a leadership style that is firm, but humble, passionate and impatient for great achievements, but ever conscious of the correct procedures.”
Those words are as relevant now as they were then. I recall them now as a renewal of our commitment to you.
There is no room for egosnor personal agendas. Every single appointment made by me has received the full support of those selected.
Fellow citizens, it is with great pride and honour that I announce your government’sperformance team:
Minister of National Security Jack Warner, M.P
Minister in the Ministry of National Security Collin Partap, M.P
Minister of Legal Affairs Prakash Ramadhar, M.P
Attorney General Senator AnandRamlogan
Minister of the People and Social Development Dr. Glenn Ramadharsingh, M.P
Minister in the Ministry of the People and Social Development VernellaAlleyne-Toppin, M.P
Minister of Education Dr. Tim Gopeesingh, M.P
Minister of Housing Dr. RoodalMoonilal, M.P
Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development Marlene Coudray
Minister of Justice Herbert Volney, M.P
Minister of Public Administration Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, M.P
Minister of Energy Senator Kevin Ramnarine
Minister of Labour& Small & Micro Enterprise Dev't Errol cLeod,M.P
Minister of Transport ChandreshSharma,M.P
Minister of Sport Anil Roberts, M.P
Minister of Planning Sen. Dr. BhoendradattTiwarie
Minister of Public Utilities NizamBaksh, M.P
Minister of Tobago Development Dr.Delmon Baker, M.P
Minister of Local Government Dr.SurujrattanRambachan,M.P
Minister in the Ministry of Local Government RudranathIndarsingh,M.P
Minister of Works and Infrastructure Sen. Emmanuel George
Minister in the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure Stacy Roopnarine,M.P
Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism Dr. Lincoln Douglas,M.P
Minister of Health Dr.Fuad Khan M.P
Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister Rodger Samuel, M.P
Minister of Tertiary Education Senator FazalKarim
Minister of Tourism Stephen Cadiz,M.P
Minister of Community Development Winston Peters,M.P
Minister of Food Production Sen.DevantMaharaj
Minister of State in the Ministry of Food Production JairamSeemungal, MP
Minister of Science & Technology Dr.Rupert Griffith
Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Dookeran, M.P
Minister of Trade, Industry & Investment Sen.VasantBharath
Minister of the Environment & Water Resources Ganga Singh
Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment & Water Resources Ramona Ramdial, M.P
Minister of National Diversity & Social Integration Clifton De Coteau
Minster in the Ministry of National Diversity & Social Integration Senator EmbauMoheni
Minister of Communication Jamal Mohammed
Minister of Finance & The Economy (with responsibility for Caribbean Airlines) Larry Howai
Deputy Speaker NelaKhan,M.P
Fellow citizens, the leadership team assembled here is reposed with the greatest of responsibility. Having reconfigured our Government, I expect now that we can continue, with greater impetus and determination to fulfill our promise to deliver our people and country to unprecedented development and progress.
As we move forward, we must outdo our own performance. We must lift our own benchmarks. We must surpass our own targets.
Let us all join together to become part of the effort to further this new beginning for our great nation.
May God bless you all and may God bless our nation.